Black people are some of the best multitaskers I know. See before enslavement when my ancestors were busy creating cultures and societies they were multitasking. When they were enslaved they still were able to multitask while managing to plan their escapes, rear children, subvert slavery in every way etc. During the Civil Rights Movement black people were multitasking as well! So why is it that people (both white and black) are acting like we only have to focus on one?
When Jada Pinkett-Smith released her video saying that she and her husband would not attend this year’s Oscars people got soooo upset. Many people called Jada out for having hurt feelings because her husband wasn’t nominated in Concussion (which I think he did an amazing job in). Janet Hubert, who played the first Aunt Viv, did have a point in her response to Jada where she said that if Jada and Will weren’t helping other upcoming black actors, producers, and writers they were contributing to the inequalities that Hollywood is built on (especially since Will Smith himself said racism is rare which we know isn’t true based on other black actors’ accounts). At the same time, maybe Jada has come to see the light which only stands to benefit us? After all this is the second year in a row where people of color have been shut out at the Academy Awards. The fact remains that they are standing up against the inequalities that exist in their business. The white people saying its not about race are simply buying into their privilege and sticking their heads in the sand. You mean to tell me out of the 2,947 Oscars awarded only 32 black people were worthy???
For many black people they have argued that we shouldn’t care about the Oscars because they never cared about us which I agree with; however, the Oscar does hold a power in the mainstream. If our goal to show people that Black Lives do indeed matter, the arts are one of the most powerful ways to build empathy for black (just look at Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie). As Blue Telusma for The Grio writes, “Protesting and boycotting is fine — but nothing (literally NOTHING) has the power to humanize minorities like the arts. There are whole parts of the world — and sections of this country — that are only exposed to black Americans based on what they see on the screen.”
Currently there is the sinister situation in Flint, Michigan which is a largely black town which many are saying should be the focus of our attention instead of the Oscars. Why do we have to sacrifice one for the other? Both Flint and the #OscarsSoWhite are the result of the same systemic racism that disregards black lives and their contributions to our society. It is this same disregard that has brainwashed black people like Stacey Dash to say that we should do away with BET (although BET is owned by Viacom and problematic this is a no) and Black History Month (learn about the history of Black History Month before you suggest something foolishness). Black History shows that the crisis in Flint mirrors the Tuskegee experiment where black men were infected with syphilis and made to suffer. I say all this to say we can protest the Oscars, celebrate our own awards, care about Flint, watch Scandal/Empire/HTGAWM, take care of our communities, go to HBCUs, go to PWIS and fight against the lack of diversity and anything else and still be black. Racism is a multi-headed hydra and we have to engage it on all fronts.
P.S. I find it funny that the white people upset at Jada protesting the Oscars saying they should be more concerned with Flint refuse to acknowledge that the issue in Flint is race related as well.
Also read this hilarious collection of tweets taking a dig at Stacey Dash’s tomfoolery.
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