The Problem is NOT with the Oscars

Boycotting the Oscars is only touching the surface of the underlying problems that blacks face in Hollywood. Not to take away from the cause, but I wonder what happens after the Oscar boycott? Will black actors assume more leading roles? Does Hollywood really consider the facts of underhanded recognition? I feel they hear us, they see us boycotting and arguing this very relevant point, but when will things actually change?

You could probably line up all the A-List black actresses out there [and] they probably don’t make what one A-List white woman makes in one film. That’s the problem. You can change the Academy, but if there are no black films being produced, what is there to vote for?” –Viola Davis

The call for diversity has been an ongoing problem from the academy members to the big screen. The fact that extreme measures have to be put in place to bring awareness to the lack of diversity that shouldn’t even exist is mind-boggling enough. Leading actor from Selma, David Oyelowo calls it the Subservient Roles.

Generally speaking, we as black people have been celebrated more for when we are subservient, when we are not being leaders or kings or being in the center of our own narrative, driving it forward.”-David Oyelowo

This statement is confirmed with Lupita Nyong’o and Octavia Spencer winning Academy Awards for their roles as a slave and a maid in the films 12 Years a Slave and The Help. Or take Denzel Washington for example. Why is it that Denzel received an award for Training Day, playing a corrupt cop? How is it possible for two years of exceptional movies to slip through the cracks of nominations? No award for Selma or Ava Duvernay for last year’s Oscars? What about Will Smith in Concussion for this year or Michael B. Jordan for Creed? No wait; there was recognition for Creed, but it was Sylvester Stallone winning a Golden Globe for the Best Supporting Actor. The nomination (Best Original Screenplay) for Straight Outta Compton only recognizes the white screenwriters for this black cultured film. Like come on, give credit where it is due! This is an outrage!

It paints the picture to me that we can create, direct and produce these stories all we want, assume the role of leading actor/hero, but there will be a rainy day in hell when it’s given adequate and deserving recognition. And that’s the reality of a black actor (including the A-listers) in the entertainment industry.
Not to take away from continuous efforts to seek change. At the Governors Awards in November, AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is African-American, announced the formation of A2020, a five-year plan in which the Academy and the studios will work on programs to ensure that top executives expand their thinking when hiring, mentoring and encouraging new talent.

We have to re-double our efforts to convince them that diversity is important and that they should be open to the stories of other people.” –Gil Robertson (President of African-American Films Critic Association)

The fight continues until there is nothing left to fight about. Awareness is only the beginning; a boycott is only taking a stand. How do we change the logistics of people seated to make these decisions in the entertainment industry? Where do we go with our efforts after the Oscars are over? Will history of lack of diversity repeat itself for a 3rd year straight or will ‘something’ be put in place to prevent that? #PatientlyWaitingforAnswers

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