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Cheryl Boone Isaacs | Photo: AMPAS

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, issued the following statement Monday evening in response to the news that director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith are boycotting this year’s Oscars ceremony because, for the second consecutive year, no non-white actors were nominated for an award:

“I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees.  While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership.  In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.

“As many of you know, we have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we would like.  We need to do more, and better and more quickly. 

“This isn’t unprecedented for the Academy. In the ‘60s and ‘70s it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together.”

 

Earlier in the day – Martin Luther King Day – Spike Lee released the following statement via Instagram (leading capitals in the original):

I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let’s Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 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. 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”. For Too Many Years When The Oscars 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.

As I See It, The Academy Awards Is Not Where The “Real” Battle Is. It’s In The Executive Office Of The Hollywood Studios And TV And Cable Networks. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To “Turnaround” Or Scrap Heap. This Is What’s Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With “The Green Light” Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, “I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS”. People, The Truth Is We Ain’t In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White.

 

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13 Comments

  1. Jerry Walgamuth says:

    I wonder what movies Mr. Lee thought were worth Oscar nominations but did not receive one?

  2. Diana Cohen Diana Cohen says:

    What about the BET awards?

  3. John Gilbert John Gilbert says:

    Sorry to hear that. I’ve been a film affectionado most of my life, and have be a regular customer to Foreign films as well as Docs & Indies. But, as a paying customer, the the actors, subject or story must be of interest for me to part with my hard earned dough. That’s the hard economics of “the business”. Spike and Cheryl seem to think that actively trying to integrate the Academy, which is a organization of Artists and Film Technitions, seems misguides from the standpoint creativity & the free market shouldn’t be decided by a quota system or stacking the votes by changing the voters. Producers, Writers, Directors,, Actors should put out an artistic product that people want to see. Don’t mistake tolerance and understanding with reverse assimilation.

  4. I’m gonna boycott the NBA

  5. *”Spike Lee is boycotting the Oscars because of “lily white” nomination roster.”*

    I am certain Mr. Spike Lee has no clue I’ve been boycotting his movies, concerns and thoughts as soon as I realized he joined millions of my American neighbors WILLFULLY ignoring our expanding and shameful National Epidemic of Childhood Abuse and Neglect fueled and perpetuated by immature American teen girls and young women of African descent who irresponsibly and cruelly subject their children to human oppression known as *Childhood Abuse and Neglect, aka Poverty* by building families with too many mouths to feed, clothe and supervise?

    *Child Abuse and Neglect* that is primarily responsible for our prisons and far too many American communities being populated by depressed, angry, frustrated, undisciplined, unpredictable, sometimes suicidal teens and adults *(NY Times May 18, 2015 – Rise in Suicide by Black Children Surprises Researchers)* full of resentment for irresponsibly being introduced to a life of hardships and struggles.

    Addressing inmates at Ironwood State Prison, Robert K. Ross, MD, President and CEO of The California Endowment, gives a compelling overview of the role that exposure to childhood trauma plays in the lives of troubled and chronically ill Americans.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsCNuB_KBUw

    Peace.

    Black *(Children’s)* Lives Matter; Take Pride In Parenting; *End Our National Epidemic of Child Abuse and Neglect*; End Community Violence, Police Fear & Educator’s Frustrations

    • Although relevant I believe the No Show of Mr. Lee is all a part of the problem not the solution and if this is going to be repeated the future
      will not change. We need a tolerant society that excepts with appreciation the award Mr. Lee refuses to except. He is not doing a thing to solve the problem. Like write and produce a winning Oscar Movie, one with known and unknown talented artistes. Also, a movie that will draw the crowd to see and acknowledge a work of Art. The industry votes for the contenders and it is those who need to be impressed with contenders for these prestigious Award’s.

  6. https://www.facebook.com/jada/videos/10153983404106320/

    On Jan 18, 2016, Mrs. Pinkett Smith shared, “Begging for acknowledgement or even asking diminishes dignity…”

    I agree with Mrs. Pinkett Smith. When she uttered these words immediately my thoughts went to this interview where nationally and internationally popular victim of Childhood Trauma, Abuse and Neglect and American recording artist Kendrick Lamar addresses family and parental responsibility/accountability issues that deprived him, his three siblings, his numerous cousin, as well as far too many of his school classmates and neighborhood friends of THEIR dignity. Family and parental issues that also deprives far too many developing children from experiencing and enjoying a fairly happy “Average Joe and Josie” American kid childhood with Safe Streets to travel and play on.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu4Pz9PjolI

    My next thoughts went to paragraph eight of this LAWeekly interview in which Kendrick graphically describes horrific child abuse and trauma that continues causing him to experience adult depression.

    https://knutesniche.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/laweekly-lamar-abuse.png

    My thoughts about Mrs. Smith’s comments and concerns also had me wondering why millions of my American neighbors WILLFULLY ignore our expanding and shameful National Epidemic of Childhood Abuse and Neglect mostly fueled and perpetuated by immature American teen girls and young women of African descent who irresponsibly and cruelly subject their children to undignified human oppression known as *Childhood Abuse and Neglect, aka Poverty* by building families with too many mouths to feed, clothe and supervise, before acquiring the practical skills, PATIENCE and means to raise a fairly happy child maturing in to a fairly happy, reasonably responsible teen and adult enjoying mostly fond memories of his ot her childhood.

    *Child Abuse and Neglect* that is primarily responsible for our prisons and far too many American communities being populated by depressed, angry, frustrated, undisciplined, unpredictable, sometimes suicidal teens and adults *(NY Times May 18, 2015 – Rise in Suicide by Black Children Surprises Researchers)* full of resentment for irresponsibly being introduced to a life of hardships and struggles.

    Addressing inmates at Ironwood State Prison, Robert K. Ross, MD, President and CEO of The California Endowment, gives a compelling overview of the role that exposure to childhood trauma plays in the lives of troubled and chronically ill Americans.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsCNuB_KBUw

    I also asked myself why America’s *Premier Presidential and Parental Couple* largely ignore this child harming social issue that sadly robs millions of Americans of their dignity.

    Peace.

    Black *(Children’s)* Lives Matter; Take Pride In Parenting; *End Our National Epidemic of Child Abuse and Neglect*; End Community Violence, Police Fear & Educator’s Frustrations

  7. How come Jada is such a racist ,why is so true ?

  8. Scott Smith says:

    If Spike Lee could make a movie people wanted to watch, then maybe he’d be nominated for an award, but I doubt that will ever happen. His attempts at film making are not worth even mentioning -let alone giving hours of one’s life to their viewing! The Academy has a black President, the awards show will have a black emcee; how is this NOT inclusion? Moreover, these awards are industry persons voting for other industry persons -the People’s Choice Awards are MUCH more meaningful than any award that a group creates and presents to itself.

  9. RDW says:

    Most of Spike Lee’s movies have racist content in them.Lee and Pinkett are the real racists here.

  10. Gary Wanjon Gary Wanjon says:

    Just stay home Nobody cares if these idiots aren’t there!!!

Leave a Comment


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