Anohni, who is competing for best original song at this year’s Oscars and is the second transgender performer ever nominated by the Academy, has explained why she won’t attend the ceremony in a new essay written for Pitchfork.
The English singer, who fronts the band Antony and the Johnsons, was nominated along with composer J. Ralph for “Manta Ray,” a song from the documentary Racing Extinction. But when Anohni was cut from the show due to time constraints, she concluded “the positive implication of this nomination was being retracted” and “the producers seemed to have decided to stage performances only by the singers who were deemed commercially viable.”
Nominees set to perform on Sunday night include Lady Gaga, Sam Smith, and the Weeknd; the category’s fifth nominee, “Simple Song #3,” composed by David Lang and performed by South Korean soprano Sumi Jo, will also be excluded from the broadcast. (The Academy does not have a rule specifying every original song nominee has to perform during the televised ceremony; the decision rests with the producers.)
“I know that I wasn’t excluded from the performance directly because I am transgendered. I was not invited to perform because I am relatively unknown in the U.S., singing a song about ecocide, and that might not sell advertising space,” she wrote. “But if you trace the trail of breadcrumbs, the deeper truth of it is impossible to ignore… It is a system of social oppression and diminished opportunities for transpeople that has been employed by capitalism in the U.S. to crush our dreams and our collective spirit.”
Representatives for the Academy Awards did not respond when contacted for comment. Head over to Pitchforkto read Anohi’s full essay. The Oscars air Sunday night on ABC.