This past week, we marked Dr. King’s birthday and had time to reflect on things. Perhaps by chance, perhaps otherwise, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith started their Oscar boycott for lack of African-American nominees.
Have I lost any sleep over this, you ask? Nope.
And this is not because I’m against diversity. By all means, if there was even one African-American actor/ress who’ve been left out because of the color of their skin, I’d boycott the Oscar myself. Well, If I was watching it to begin with. I’m not.
No, for me, the issue is different. Completely different.
I see very few African-American affluent people working to better the lives of the African-American people of the USA. Please don’t name politicians, I don’t consider them working for the benefit of any people. I’m looking for people like Will Smith.
Mr. Smith is a well known, widely respected actor among many people, young and old alike. During his career he was able to endear himself to many of us and considering his financial situation it leads me to believe that he just might be the perfect person to fight for the rights of African-Americans.
I’m not being cynical here. I truly believe Will can be a major player in furthering the interests of a group which is still a minority and to this day, still suffer from racism and discrimination.
So what’s my issue with this “Oscar boycott”?
It’s very simple. Priorities.
Really, Will? THAT is your cause? THIS is what you want to rally the masses behind?
There are so many people in America who’re taking a risk every time they enter their car, for committing the crime called “Driving While Black“. And we know how much cops like them some black drivers. There are still many jobs that are out of reach, and so many other things that are so much more worthy of Will’s wrath.
So what does Mr. Smith do? He goes after, arguably the least important cause. He goes for the cream.
Let’s say his voice is heard and for the next 25 years, we will see 50% African-American movie makers winning Oscars. How many people are we talking about? 200? 500? And how will their lives be altered? They would become “Oscar winners”? Will that be the end of racism in America? Will that make ANY difference? Well, among the privileged, some African-Americans will also become a little more privileged.
Something tells me that Dr. King would’ve preferred to see a man of Will’s standings, working towards a far more significant cause.
I hope that none of you will participate in the – unfortunately – racially charged cyber-arguments. Will is right. A full cadre of white nominees doesn’t seem right.
Mind you, I haven’t watched enough movies this year to have ANY favorites – Well, Bryan Cranston is one, though I haven’t watched ‘Trumbo‘. But that’s besides the point.
The point is, America has bigger fish to fry and deeper problems to solve than the inclusion of this person or the other in some Hollywood shortlist. I hope to see Will Smith standing at the forefront of some of these.
Until next time,