Sometimes it takes someone with zero F****s to give to tell you all about yourself. It takes someone who has nothing to lose to put that finger on what to the rest of us seemed a bit off somehow, but that you couldn’t quite put your finger on. I can assure you that this was NOT Janet Hubert’s issue. She knew exactly what was bothering her and she laid it down. Now, she does come across as a teensy bit bitter, like alum powdered lemon slices, but… she’s not wrong.
I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz about the Oscars snubbing actors of color, but just in case you have been sidetracked by the presidential election hub-bub this year, here ya go: This year’s nominations look like one of the forecast models for this weekend’s east coast snow storm. This is not the first time that Hollywood has been called out for overlooking actors of, well, anything but white. Last year we saw an uproar from Anime fans when ScarJo was chosen to play the lead character for Ghost in the Shell. So, we see that the diversity problem goes from casting calls to nominations, where one of the films noticeably absent from the Oscar nominations is Straight Outta Compton. Compton was even brought to task on its casting call, where the C and D girls are “African American, poor and out of shape”. Not just a type, but a particular race.
Many actors of color are speaking out about the lack of diversity, including David Oyelowo and Don Cheadle, and have brought attention to the issue. Cheadle was quoted as joking that he was allowed to park cars at the event. But Jada Pinkett-Smith took to her heavily followed facebook page to speak out about the issue, encouraged Actors of Color to stop supporting the Academy, and start to supporting our own talent. However, as my grandmother used to say, “she just should’na done it”, because Ms. Hubert had a few opinions herself on the Pinkett-Smith power couple, bluntly telling them they are not the Obamas and to get over themselves:
Ms. Hubert has been, until now, best known as the Original Aunt Viv from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She played the role before becoming involved in a very public dispute with the show’s star, Will Smith. Ms. Hubert has never been silent about how she feels about Smith, so I’m hesitant to accuse her of simply searching for the spotlight. She may be in need of a little Elsa in her life, but she certainly has made her point and reasoning clear.
When she points out that the Smiths have their own production company, Overbrook Entertainment, and rarely produce any work that a family member isn’t one of the stars of, you start to get the feeling that what Ms. Hubert just did was give a justified wake up call to those who complain about the establishment, but turn around and conduct business the exact same way it does.
There is no denying there is a diversity problem in Hollywood, and I ‘m guessing many of you may not be watching the show this year for that very reason. But to follow “Aunt Viv’s” point through, not watching the Oscars is a small thing in the grand scheme of it all. How you spend your movie dollars is probably a much better protest. You can not support an industry/company with your funds and think that jumping on the hashtag bandwagon will have any lasting effect toward the goal of demanding more diversity. This whole fiasco has probably increased interest in watching the Oscars with all the free publicity they’ve gotten in the past week.
Do you have your popcorn? I surely do.