*I’m probably in the minority here, but I’m really not all that disturbed about the Oscar white-outs.
Mostly, because I realize the war on equality rages on. It didn’t stop because we got a seat on the bus or the right to vote. Those who think all things are good and equal are exceptionally delusional. There will always be people who won’t accept those who don’t look like them, just because.
That said, after spending many years covering the entertainment industry in Los Angeles and listening to countless lies about who, what, when and why, I’ve come to realize what a sham all these award shows are.
Hollywood’s endless masturbatory parade of wealth and glamor has hoodwinked folks into believing that these trophies validate accomplishment. We’ve been bamboozled into watching ordinary people in haute couture collect hardware for simply doing their well-compensated jobs.
The reality is that these trophies mean absolutely nothing in the large scheme of things. No Oscar winner is going to cure cancer or impact the kind of social change we need to ensure that all lives matter. For every tear shed by someone who didn’t win, 100,000 should be shed for everyone who never even had the opportunity to run the race.
Personally, I’d rather there be more outrage about an underserved child of color not having the opportunity to get a college education, than hear the irate voices of the NAACP bemoan the fact that Will Smith was overlooked for his role in a film that no one saw.
I’m just saying.
In the 20-plus years I’ve lived and worked in this town I’ve seen these diversity movements come and go more quickly than it takes a cockroach to move across the floor in broad daylight. It would be lovely if the creative community could see past all the zeroes on their paychecks and present the world as it is, as opposed to how they want us to see it. They do that because they can. No one has ever introduced any legislation demanding that the entertainment industry be more inclusive.
So, if we’re going to bitch and moan about the lack of diversity at these award shows, in movies and television–stop watching them. There’s also no law that says you have to. Stop supporting the machine that embraces our fairer-skinned brothers and sisters. Stop buying the products produced by the sponsors who help perpetuate this cancer. Historically, this has been the most effective way to challenge the status quo.
Let’s hold the men and women in the glass offices accountable for their vision, or lack thereof.
It was truly comical when former Sony chief Amy Pascal called in Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton last year after her offensive comments about President Obama went viral following the Sony email hacking debacle. That just showed how out of touch she and her contemporaries are. All they fixed was their hair for their TV appearances.
All this talk over the past two decades is just that–talk. Viola Davis said it best during her Emmy speech last September. It’s about opportunity. You can’t be nominated if you’re not invited to the play date. Davis, however, is smart enough to know that even though she’s got that golden angel and some added contract incentives, her opportunities may still be limited because she’s darker than a brown paper bag. Black women work less than black men for myriad ridiculous reasons. There was not one working black actress even featured in a prominent motion picture role last year.
So in a way, it’s like she won the bronze at the Olympics, just like Oscar-winners Hattie McDaniel, Halle Berry, Jennifer Hudson, Whoopi Goldberg, Mo’Nique, Lupita Nyong’o, Octavia Spencer; and Emmy winners Cicely Tyson, Regina King, Alfre Woodard, Debbie Allen, Uzo Aduba, Isabel Sanford, Lynn Whitfield, S. Epatha Merkerson, Beah Richards, Loretta Devine, Jackee Harry, Gail Fisher, Mary Alice, Madge Sinclair, Olivia Cole, Esther Rolle, Queen Latifah, Goldberg, Berry and a few others.
That’s a long list of names. Maybe the folks in TV are a bit more enlightened. The fact remains, however, that we’re still having this conversation. It seems the more we complain – and by “we” I mean folks of all races – the whiter things get.
Hollyhood is more defiant than ISIS will ever be.