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Jada Pinkett Smith ... "We can no longer beg for the love." (Jason Kempin/Getty Images for The Clara Lionel Foundation)


Jada-Pinkett Smith boycotting Oscars, Academy president “heartbroken” over lack of diversity

By WITW Staff on January 19, 2016

After the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences failed for the second year in a row to nominate any minority actors for an Oscar, many people tweeted their frustrations at the lack of diversity under the #OscarsSoWhite banner. On Martin Luther King day, Jada Pinkett Smith went one step further, posting a video message to her Facebook page, explaining why she would be boycotting this year’s Academy Awards. “Have we now come to a new time and place where we recognize that we can no longer beg for the love, acknowledgment or respect of any group; that maybe it’s time that we recognize that if we love and respect and acknowledge ourselves in a way that we are asking others to do, that that is the place of true power? I’m simply asking the question.” she said.

Her husband, Will Smith, while nominated for a Golden Globe for his leading role in Concussion, was not among the nominees for Best Actor this year. Pinkett-Smith acknowledged that the Academy can nominate and invite whoever they want, but wondered aloud whether it wasn’t time to pull back resources and start to “make programs for ourselves that acknowledge us in ways that we see fit, that are just as good as the so-called ‘mainstream’ ones. I don’t know.” She added: “Here’s what I do know. Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity, and diminishes power, and we are a dignified people, and we are powerful, and let’s not forget it.”

In the meantime, the Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs — herself an African-American — issued an official statement on Twitter, saying she was “heartbroken and frustrated” about the lack of inclusion. “This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes,” she wrote in the statement, adding that the Academy would take “dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership; in the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond”.

Read the full story at The Los Angeles Times.