When Jada Pinkett Smith declared in a video on Facebook that she’s not going to attend or watch the Oscars this year over the all-white acting noms, I assumed that Will Smith was boycotting them too. I figured that even if the Oscars were projected on a bare ass at a bi swingers sex party, both Jada and Will would shut their eyes and refuse to watch it. Will is now making it perfectly clear that he’s sticking with his wife. Will also claims that he wouldn’t go even if he was the only black actor nominated. I felt the earth move a bit and I’m sure that was from The Original Aunt Viv busting out the eye roll of eye rolls while cackling.
In an interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, Will says that he didn’t know that his wife was going to make that video but he co-signs every single word that came out of her mouth. Most of us watch the Oscars to rage-tweet about all the gross ass sucking, make fun of the dresses and get life from the messy speeches, but for Will, the Oscars is a serious, serious thing that should represent Hollywood, which represents America.
“That’s why we [America and Americans] are great. So many different people from so many different places adding their ideas, their inspiration and their influences to this beautiful American gumbo. For me, at its best, Hollywood represents and then creates the imagery for that beauty. But for my part, I think that I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and make our Hollywood community great. So when I look at the series of nominations of the Academy, it’s not reflecting that beauty.
Everyone is beautiful and deserving and is fantastic, but it feels like it’s going the wrong direction. The nominations reflect the Academy. The Academy reflects the industry and then the industry reflects America. There is a regressive slide towards separatism, towards racial and religious disharmony and that’s not the Hollywood that I want to leave behind. That’s not the industry, that’s not the America I want to leave behind.”
Well, if the Oscars are supposed to reflect Hollywood and Hollywood is supposed to reflect America, then I guess I should be running into old-timey British people, a rapist bear and Americans doing shitty British accents wherever I go.
Will was in the running to get his third Oscar nomination for Concussion and some think Jada called for a boycott because she’s just mad that he was shut out. Will admits that Jada’s boycott has something to do with him not getting nominated, but went on to say that’s it’s much, much bigger issue than that:
“There’s probably a part of that in there but, for Jada, had I been nominated and no other people of color were, she would have made the video anyway. We’d still be here having this conversation. This is so deeply not about me. This is about children that are going to sit down and they’re going to watch this show and they’re not going to see themselves represented.
At this point, the Academy is 94 percent Caucasian and 77 percent male. It’s just difficult to get a diverse cultural sampling from that group. It’s a systematic bias that needs to be addressed across the industry. We make movies, it’s not that serious, except that it plants seeds for dreams. There’s a disharmony that is brewing in our country and in our industry that I want no part to that.”
You’re probably sitting there wondering BWDAVT (But what does Aunt Viv think?). Oh, you weren’t? Well, she spoke up anyway. The Original Aunt Viv did an interview with The Los Angeles Times and it was published before Will’s GMA interview aired. She had a lot more to say about the Smiths’ boycott. The Original Aunt Viv says that instead of complaining about a dumb award that means nothing, Will and Jada should be using their power and money to mentor screenwriters and create more opportunities for black artists. Aunt Viv also said this:
“We’re all complaining about diversity in Hollywood, but we’ve got to address the colorism within the black community of Hollywood first. I’m called ‘dark-skinned Aunt Viv.’ [Reid] is called ‘light-skinned Aunt Viv.’ The whole ridiculousness of black Hollywood — there is no black Hollywood. It’s every man for himself. We’ve got to address that first before we can start attacking someone else’s awards that were never designed for us.
The Oscars were never designed for us. There are actors who have never gotten an Oscar and have done amazing work. If you are waiting for an award of a little … gold statue and that’s supposed to validate you, then you’re not in this business for the right reasons. We do the work. It’s about the work. It’s about taking the pages of a script and bringing them to life. It ain’t that deep. We get paid a lot of money to do very little work.”
In the Smiths’ defense they already have a production company and that production company gave us Ali, I, Robot, The Pursuit of Happyness and After Earth. Err, forget I mentioned that last one.
On one hand, I think that Will and Jada are mad that he didn’t get nominated and that’s a partly why she made that video (like Will said). On the other hand, the lack of diversity in Hollywood movies is a huge issue and if Jada’s video and the whole Oscar boycott got people talking about it AGAIN, then that’s a good thing and maybe, hopefully, it’ll lead to actual change instead of just talk. And Jada’s video also summoned the triumphant return of The Original Aunt Viv who also said this gem during her L.A. Times interview:
“But if you come for me, I’ll meet you at the door.”
A Real Housewife better not even think of stealing that line from Aunt Viv.