The exclusion of people of colour from this year’s Oscars nominations has caused an outrage with statements by renowned director, Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith that they will boycott the Academy Awards ceremony, scheduled for February 28th.
This ceremony will mark the second year in a row that the Oscars have witnessed the absence of people of colour in all four acting categories, and social media has not taken kindly to the lack of diversity in nominations.
According to reports, a boycott by prominent members of the entertainment industry has the potential to spoil Hollywood’s annual ceremony, and the event’s viewership will likely record a slump because of a snub of such magnitude.
Commenting on the lack of diversity, Lee wrote on his Instagram account, “We cannot support it and [I] mean no disrespect … 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!! It’s No Coincidence I’m Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday, ” Lee said.
In a video posted on Facebook, Pinkett Smith made a scathing attack on the Oscars and said she would not attend, encouraging others to boycott the ceremony.
In the video, Pinkett Smith laments the effects of the perceived systemic exclusion saying: “Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power. And we are a dignified people, and we are powerful,”
“So let’s let the Academy do them, with all grace and love. And let’s do us, differently”.
Meanwhile, Oscars head Cheryl Boone Isaacs has reportedly said dramatic action was being taken “in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond”.