Oscars 2016: Jada Pinkett Smith says she won’t attend ceremony over lack of diversity
UPDATE: Hours after Jada Pinkett Smith announced she won’t be attending this year’s Oscars, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs issued a statement saying she was “both heartbroken and frustrated” by the lack of diversity among nominees. “The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership,” she wrote.
On Tuesday, Pinkett Smith thanked the Academy, but it’s unclear whether she will change her mind about boycotting the Feb. 28 ceremony. “I would like to express my gratitude to the Academy, specifically Cheryl Boone Isaacs, for such a quick response in regard to the issue at hand,” she wrote on Facebook. “I look forward to the future.”
EARLIER: After expressing her “deep disappointment” over the weekend in response to the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominees, Jada Pinkett Smith says she plans to sit out the upcoming ceremony.
In a video posted to Facebook, the actress said she won’t watch or attend the Academy Awards on Feb. 28.
“Is it time that people of color recognize how much power, influence, that we have amassed, that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere?” she said. “Maybe it’s time that we recognize that if we love and respect and acknowledge ourselves in the way in which we are asking others to do, that that is the place of true power.”
“Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power — and we are a dignified people, and we are powerful. Let’s not forget it,” she added.
Speaking to Oscars host Chris Rock, Pinkett Smith said, “Chris, I will not be at the Academy Awards and I won’t be watching but I can’t think of a better man to do the job at hand this year then you, my friend. Good luck.”
On Monday, Spike Lee also announced he would not attend the Oscars because of the lack of representation in the nominees, which were announced last Thursday and recognized only white actors for the second consecutive year.
“We cannot support it and [I] mean no disrespect to my friends, host Chris Rock and producer Reggie Hudlin, president [Cheryl Boone] Isaacs and the Academy,” Lee wrote on Instagram. “But, how is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the acting category are white? And let’s not even get into the other branches. Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can’t act?! WTF!!”
Others who have commented include Rashida Jones, Straight Outta Compton producer Will Packer, and actor Don Cheadle, who tweeted at Rock saying he’d be “parking cars on G level” during the Oscars. Rock, meanwhile, referenced this year’s nominees in a tweet last week, calling the ceremony “The White BET Awards.”