The Academy Awards, or “Oscars”, is an annual American awards ceremony honoring cinematic achievements in the film industry. On May 16, 1929, the Academy Awards was started in the ballroom of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California. Since then only sixty-six African American actors and actresses have been nominated for Academy Awards. In 1939, Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy in Gone With the Wind. Over the years many African American and Latino actors and actresses have fallen victim to the too much melanin epidemic. For many years now, the greatest of entertainers have frequently been looked over for some of the greatest roles ever performed in the cinematic world. Are African Americans still waiting to be accepted in the entertainment world?
Since the start of the Academy Awards only fifteen of the sixty-six nominees have won Oscars. The decision to nominate someone is solely in the hands of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). African Americans are currently facing a problem with Academy nominations including minority actors and actresses. With many minorities questioning why entertainers of color were omitted from the nominee list the world is beginning to look into the nominations themselves. Box office hits such as Straight Outta Compton, Concussion and Creed were just a few of the films that were not included on the list of an Academy Award nomination. As media moguls began to notice the unfair treatment of minority entertainers they began to speak on the problem. Famous film director Spike Lee spoke out on Twitter about the nominations stating, “We Cannot Support It And I 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!!” Spike also stated, “Dr. King Said “There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Political, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It’s Right.”
I believe that when the doors are shut in that room and those business executive sit down to discuss the nominations they also take into consideration the color of that person’s skin. African Americans must take a stand and let people know that they will not allow others to omit and exclude them from something they have worked hard for. Once Hattie McDaniel accepted that Academy Award in 1929 she set the pace for other African American entertainers. The board should realize that one thing about the African American culture is that they will always find a way around everything that they are denied. Blacks must not back down and allow others to just throw their hard work and dedication to the side. When those doors are closed what is the conversation like?
With so many people tuned into the mistreatment of black entertainers many have taken their opinions to social media. Famed journalist Roland Martin encourages the boycott of the Oscars by stating, “With #OscarSoWhite, every major Black Hollywood star should be at the @NAACPImageAwards as a major statement and showing support for the winners!” Why do African Americans keep showing up to these award shows that not only exclude them from the winner’s circle, but they also exclude them from the nomination’s list as well. I encourage every minority entertainer to boycott the Academy Awards and attend the NAACP Image Awards. Will blacks ever see a diverse list of nominees for the Academy Awards? When will the board finally see that African American entertainers are not going away without a fight? If Hollywood only listened to the complaints of the minority actors and actresses #OSCARSOWHITE would not exist in the world of social media.