Hollywood actress Jada Pinkett Smith has stepped forward to speak out on the real motivation behind her decision to fall back on attending this month’s Academy Awards ceremony.
Although impressed by the Academy recently announcing it would include more people of color in its voting process, Jada said her issue is much deeper.
“Oh absolutely, I’m not going to the Oscars this year but I also believe anybody who wants to go should. For sure. I don’t know [what me and my husband Will Smith will be doing]. … I’m hoping that the Academy understands that it’s not just about having more black voters to give the connotation that black people vote black. But that the Academy as a whole, we all need to, as human beings, get to know each other, expand our education about everyone. You know, some of the things I heard was like Beast of No Nation was too difficult of a movie to watch. Maybe. But these are the movies, you know, partly the reason we have art is so we can come out of our comfort zones and get to know different cultures, different realities and I must admit, Idris [Elba’s] performance in that movie was fantastic. We have to take the responsibility to, if we’re going to have awards shows, it’s not watching movies based on preference necessarily especially if we claim it’s about merit but we need to watch movies because if we’re having awards shows, we have to make sure we are committed to being inclusive to everything.” (TMZ)
This week, Jada’s Hollywood husband Will Smith talked about not attending the upcoming awards ceremony.
“To me it’s so far not about me. It’s not about us going to a show or not. “For me this is a much bigger social issue. I’m recognizing a pattern of the narrowing of the imagery. The narrowing of tolerance in America. The last 18 months that I’ve been watching the news and experiencing the things that are going on in my country, my concern is that Hollywood is reflecting a regressive trend. Hollywood is supposed to lead. It’s supposed to be the most diverse and the most inclusive. All of the voices of so many different types of people and so many different types of stories. I’m just concerned that I’m seeing Hollywood slipping and making a slide that is a social and political slide that’s happening throughout the country.” (BBC Radio 1Xtra)
Recently, music mogul and director Damon “Dame” Dash spoke out on Will falling back on the Oscars.
“Let’s say Will Smith didn’t have an Oscar or a movie out, would he still boycott?” Dash says. “I don’t have a movie in there. I’ve had movies that I felt should have been nominated, like The Woodsman and Shadowboxer. I felt dubbed. Right now, it’s kind of hard to hear somebody say, ‘Yo, I’m not going to the Oscars ’cause I wasn’t invited’ and expect everyone else not to. What about everyone that’s not invited all the time? So I would rather hear Will say that when he didn’t have a movie out or Jada [Pinkett Smith]. It would seem a little more objective as opposed to personal.” (“Dr. Boyce Watkins”)
Will issued a statement last month about sticking by his wife Jada Pinkett Smith‘s side.
“She’s deeply passionate and when she is moved, she has to go,” he said. “And I heard her words and I was knocked over, I was happy to be married to that woman but I appreciated the push. There’s a position that we hold in this community and if we’re not a part of the solution we’re part of the problem,” he continued. “And it was her call to action for herself and for me and for our family to be a part of the solution. I think that diversity is the American superpower – I think that I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and make our Hollywood community great.” (USA Today)