Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Black Elephant in the Room at the Oscars

Photo courtesy of E! online

If you were like me, it felt just a teeny bit weird watching the Oscars. I expected an awkward show. An unapologetically Black comedian would be the host when in January, the Oscars just endured social media scrutiny and were made the face of entertainment racism. I expected Chris Rock's monologue to include zingers regarding the state of the second year of #OscarsSoWhite. 
There were several awkward attempts by the host and the Academy to be socially aware. If it wasn't Chris Rock's joke about how an Oscar boycott was unnecessary, his random  "#BlackLivesMatter" statement during the last two milliseconds of the show, or the strange executive decision to end the show with Fight the Power (when only moments ago, Leonardo DiCaprio had been rectified for years of justice too long delayed). 

Side note: How cool would it have been for Leonardo to discuss diversity in the Academy? 

While watching the Oscars, I expected someone to capitalize on the issue, the headlines to show someone (most likely a White woman) discussing how it is time for a change in the world. We, as Americans, like that stuff. However, I expected the Academy to give ample time to the matter, move on with the show and facilitate discussion and appreciation rather than bring a few Blacks on stage to make a few statements in snippets. Dragging on the diversity issues in the Academy as a thread throughout the show only made it feel uncomfortable and forced. 

There's nothing wrong with pro-Blackness, or allowing Chris Rock to speak on the issue, or end with #BlackLivesMatter, but what purpose did it have to hire a couple of Blacks, Stacey Dash, who made a joke that she was going to be helping her people out\, and Chris Rock, both Blacks who said that lack of diversity in the Oscars wasn't a big issue, and that there were bigger issues at hand, be the voice of the Black community at the Oscars? I'm not so sure. 

Other cool platforms the Academy could have explored: a musical performance from Black artists, spoken word, an eloquent five minute speech from Quincy Jones

The Oscars was a great night: Leonardo DiCaprio finally won (Black Twitter cried out in support of him).  But let's not ignore how the Academy made diversity issues a Big Black Elephant in the Room, and the oh-so awkward way we tiptoed around it. 


2 comments:

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  2. I think another issue that was poorly addressed at the Oscars was the "asian diversity" segment. I believe Chris Rock approached the diversity problem poorly than he should have. On a night where diversity should have been emphasized, Rock bringing up three asian children to "joke" about them only ended in ridicule and mockery. I think that is the antithesis of the progress towards diversity. How can Rock preach about diversity if one is merely ridiculing another race. I personally believe that this whole Oscar diversity was approached in a completely wrong way. What do you think about that issue?

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