Did Jada Pinkett Smith Give the #OscarsSoWhite Boycott a Black Eye?

By Shawn Paul Wood Comment

oscar nominees

There is another movement on the horizon, and it all resides in Hollywood. #OscarsSoWhite is breaking the Internet.

It all started when Spike Lee posted a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr on his Instagram account. Here’s part of the caption:

“My wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee and I will not be attending the Oscar Ceremony this coming February. We cannot support it … but how is it possible for the 2nd consecutive year, all 20 contenders under the Actor category are white? …”Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can’t act?! WTF!!” That got the social media troll engine revved up. Memes happened. Tweets were launched. Most of it was done in the name of humor, not advocacy. And then, wife of scorned Oscar nominee potential Will Smith took center stage:

A three-part tweet that has largely been called more of a moment for “Stand by Your Man” instead of shining a spotlight on the “Good Ol’ Boy Network” in Hollywood. Of course, she’s angry that Will Smith was snubbed for Concussion but did you see that movie? Did you listen to his accent? Critics gave it two mehs. Fans gave it two other things.

While Lee, an acclaimed (and often overlooked) film director and producer, seems to have a legitimate gripe about the executives that “decide which projects get made and which don’t,” Jada appears to be just a woman scorned because her man made a movie no one cared to watch. The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirSo says Janet Hubert. Yes, that’s Aunt Viv from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Referring to Pinkett Smith as “Miss Thing,”

Hubert opens her video by asking, “Does your man not have a mouth of his own with which to speak?” before launching into her thoughts on the controversy that has drawn so much attention (it even prompted the Academy to release a rare statement on Monday.)  

“I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living and has made millions and millions of dollars from the very people that you’re talking about boycotting just because you didn’t get a nomination, just because you didn’t win?” said Hubert. “That’s not the way life works, baby.”   She ends the post by saying, “You know some of us have got mortgages to pay, we got bills to pay, we have bigger shit to worry about than the Oscars.”

Granted, Jada’s boycott is the equivalent of Alec Baldwin promising to move to a 3rd world country because his candidate didn’t win. You know, he realizes that threat is stupid because the money in America is so promising.  

That said, she is actually taking steam away from Lee’s original complaint. Some have argued there were no minorities worthy of nominations, another sign that studios haven’t green-lit enough diverse projects. And even president of the Academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs (a proud black woman) was “frustrated” and “disappointed” by the lack of color in the nominations.

The snubs include: Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”), Samuel L. Jackson (“The Hateful Eight”), Michael B. Jordan (“Creed”), Tessa Thompson (“Creed”), Mya Taylor (“Tangerine”), Benicio Del Toro (“Sicario”), Oscar Isaac (“Ex Machina”) and Will Smith (“Concussion”).

Each saw significant Oscar buzz throughout awards season, yet came up short when the nominations were announced last week. Coincidentally, Lee’s movie, “Chi-Raq,” also yielded what many believe is a worthy performance from Teyonah Parris.  

Yet, no one is talking about that because Jada Pinkett Smith wants to support her man (and realize no one has cared about her since a supporting role in the Matrix Trilogy).   Think this will end up in Chris Rock’s Academy Awards monologue? A little birdy thinks so.

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