Following the last week's nominee announcement, which only included white actors, both Jada Pinkett Smith and director Spike Lee spoke out on social media on Monday morning announcing their plans to not attend nor even watch the Oscars program.
Smith opened her Facebook video in which she stated her plans to boycott the annual awards show by noting "today is Martin Luther King Day."
"Is it time that people of color recognize how much power, influence, that we have amassed, that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere?" Jada said in the video on Facebook. "Maybe it's time that we recognize that if we love and respect and acknowledge ourselves in the way in which we are asking others to do, that that is the place of true power."
The actress calls for change in her message, telling her fans, "it's our responsibility now, to make the change."
"Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power. And we are a dignified people and we are powerful," she added. "Let's do us, differently."
Spike also took on the diversity issue via Instagram, stating:
"We cannot support it and [I] mean no disrespect to my friends, host Chris Rock and producer Reggie Hudlin, president [Cheryl Boone] Isaacs and the Academy, 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!!" the filmmaker,who received an honorary award in 2015, wrote."
Lee's post also comes on Martin
Luther King Jr. Day, something he wrote was "no coincidence.”
continued: "Dr. King said, 'There
comes a time when one must take a position
that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience
tells him it's right,'" Lee wrote. "For too many years, when the
Oscar nominations are revealed, my office phone rings off the hook with the
media asking me my opinion about the lack of African-Americans and this year
was no different. For once (maybe), I would like the media to ask all the white
nominees and studio heads how they feel about another all-white ballot. If
someone has addressed this and I missed it then I stand mistaken."
He said the "real battle" is within Hollywood's studio system.
"People, the truth is we ain't in those rooms, and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain lily white," Lee wrote, citing his own acceptance speech from last year's Governors Awards. "It's easier for an African-American to be President Of The United States than be president of a Hollywood studio."
As previously reported on Access Hollywood.com, following the nominations, Access Hollywood's Liz Hernandez spoke to Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs about yet another year with very little diversity among the nominees.
"Well, it is disappointing, I have to say. This is something that's very important to the Academy and important to me and we are going to continue this fight of the discussion and the discussion is a good one," she told Access at the time. "But, it is not just about talking, it is about doing and we are very much still in that seat to drive this issue, to have more inclusion of people of color and women to participate in one of the greatest art forms there is."
-- Jesse Spero