Reverend Al Sharpton is calling on Blacks to boycott the Academy Awards and not watch the broadcast after the mostly white and male voting members of the Academy nominated 20 white actors as the best performances of 2015.
While I’m not trying to rain on Reverend Sharpton’s parade, as an African-American I have to ask the question, what would be the point?
First, Blacks as a whole don’t watch the Oscars. That’s not really our thing. Sure some of us do, but not in the numbers that would matter. If anything, we usually digest the recap online the morning after. And even if every Black in the country with a television tuned out, it wouldn’t make one bit of difference. Why? Because when was the last time you saw a commercial during the Academy Awards that was targeted towards Black people? Exactly.
Them not being there is a much louder and sincere statement than their attending and saying something political in their speech about the lack of Blacks as they accept their award in their fancy clothes and jewels and exit stage left to do media interviews.
No, a better call, a much more thoughtful call to action would be to put Hollywood’s liberalism to work by calling on Black Hollywood’s white Hollywood friends to sit this one out and refrain from walking the red carpet or attending the event.
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Maybe Reverend Sharpton doesn’t know this but most Americans watch the Oscars for the red carpet first and then for the actual ceremony.
Spike Lee and husband and wife duo Jada and Will Smith missing in action on the red carpet is not the same as Cate Blanchet, George Clooney and Brad Pitt not walking the red carpet. If you take away the people who all of America tunes in to see what they’re wearing you send a message while effecting the show’s ratings and advertisers—and I believe at the end of the day that’s the point—to effect change.
Black America it’s time to flip the script and call on white Hollywood’s liberal actors to show some solidarity with their darker skinned counterparts and just stay home.
White Hollywood needs to sit this one out. Them not being there is a much louder and sincere statement than their attending and saying something political in their speech about the lack of Blacks as they accept their award in their fancy clothes and jewels and exit stage left to do media interviews.
Reverend Sharpton and others who want to get the attention of the Academy’s voting members and create change would do better by affecting the Oscars’ ability to generate revenue with their annual broadcast. If the Oscars don’t have their A list actors on that red carpet and in the audience, nobody–Black, white, Latino or otherwise—will be watching. Maybe, just maybe the Academy’s mostly white and male voting block that didn’t see any nominating worthy performances by African-Americans in 2015 will see something wrong with that picture.
Jasmyne A. Cannick