For the second consecutive year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has excluded Blacks for their achievements in film.
There are those who maintain that the 2016 Oscar’s lack of diverse representation was a random coincidence that did not have anything to do with race. Others argue that the Oscar snubs of films directed by or starring minorities serve as evidence of Euro-American and Jewish disdain and hatred toward Black people. And there are others who suggest that the #OscarSoWhite is part of a greater conspiracy meant to perpetuate the racial divide in the US.
While the aforementioned inferences are plausible, the lack of diversity in the 2016 Academy nominations cannot and should not be ignored because it tells an important narrative; and that is, the United States of America has a racist and troubled history – a history “drenched in blood, pain and suffering that is persistently unleashed by White Supremacy on Black Americans and other minorities.”
Using the “troubled history” context, Hollywood is a microcosm of American society’s attitude toward Blacks. That is, white liberal elites in Hollywood are most comfortable when Black men are depicted and portrayed as ultraviolent, hypersexual, brash-mouthed, functionally illiterate, dangerous, deviant, Black-women hating, white-girl loving, villainous, thuggish, militant, indolent, comic reliefs, effeminate, punkified, apolitical, foot-shuffling, bootlicking, buck-dancing, sugarcaned, and nattering nabobs of negativism.
Likewise, white liberals in Hollywood seem to be most comfortable presenting Black women as eager and happy to serve white men, victims of Black males, tantrum-prone, aggressive, loud, hysterical, dependent, materialistic, hypersexual, manipulative, vindictive, and amoral.
Several prominent Black actors and actresses tweeted and spoke out against the Academy’s blatant disregard for Black achievements in film. And their disapproval of the snubs is warranted. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs also voiced her displeasure about the lack of diversity in the 2016 nominations.
But, what about the two pink elephants that are being ignored? The first ‘pink elephant’ is Hollywood’s disinclination regarding Black male/female leads in healthy roles based on Hollywood’s long history of racism, which cannot be denied.
The second ‘pink elephant’ is the reality that, historically, many Black actors/actresses have contributed to Hollywood’s despicable imageries of Blacks by their involvement in films and TV shows that marginalize and dehumanize Black people.
Some people might interpret the previous statement and say that I am “blaming the victim.” But, am I blaming the victim or am I simply saying that as Blacks, we have the power to control own narrative?
Rather than take responsibility (action) for what we can control, many of us get emotional and accept the status quo. Words often lack efficacy unless they are accompanied by action. For example, it is more likely than not that many of the Black actors/actresses who have spoken out against the 2016 Oscar snubs will still attend the Academy Awards.
The sad reality is, many Blacks in the Hollywood and society at large have become mentally anesthetized and correspondingly obsequious to the happenings around them to the point where they have accepted Hollywood and the mainstream media’s disingenuous, inaccurate, and demagogic portrayal of Blacks to the world.
As Malcolm X once said: If we are not careful, [Hollywood, the media, and corporate elites] will have us hating ourselves, and loving the people who are oppressing us.
For those of you, meaning conscious Black folks who truly want change, let your actions speak for themselves. Boycott all things Hollywood and let us band together and create our own history and economy. Let us Rise Up and emblazon our intellect, strength, power, and spirit on the world’s eyes and consciousness. Let the world recognize that we are Kings and Queens!
Featured Image credit: The Academy Awards logo