Once again African Americans have gone unnoticed in the Oscar nominee process despite many blockbusters such as Concussion, Straight Out of Compton, and Beast of No Nation. A boycott has been called and the pressure has been placed on Chris Rock to step down. Rock is the host of this years broadcast and I have to wonder why. I am in no way doubting his ability because he is not only educated but funny as HELL. According to several reports there was a 16% decrease in viewership last year after folks began to talk about boycotting. This year Spike Lee made his opinion known when he tweeted “We can't act?!” and Jada Pinkett Smith voiced her opinion in a video that quickly went viral went over 9 million views and counting. View it here.
The Academy is taking note and the President Cheryl Boone Isaacs issued the statement below:
I'd like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year's nominees. While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it's time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.
As many of you know, we have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly.
This isn't unprecedented for the Academy. In the '60s and '70s it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together.
It sounds like she has extended an invitation but what now?