Happy Sunday MMT Fam! Unless you’ve been boycotting television, or living under a rock, you are aware of this year’s Academy Award controversy and its subsequent social media hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite. There are pretty much three camps with respect to viewing tonight’s ceremony – those who are (for various reasons), those who are boycotting it all-together, and those who couldn’t care less because they’ve never watched!
Any reasonable person, who can read the above infographic or count & name persons of color who’ve won any category since the inception of the Academy Awards, knows there is great merit in the cause of those who fall in the second category. And though I mostly agree with the cause, I don’t believe boycotting the Oscars will have greatest impact implementing diversity changes within Hollywood – I’ll save that full conversation for another post, but let’s just say it involves mostly film boycotts. Hey GODS OF EGYPT, how’s that first weekend box office coming along? 😉
Anyways, I’m in that first camp this year, and not for my normal reasons of wanting to see the red-carpet fashions and if any faves will take home the gold, especially on the chance that one of my favorite films and/or actors of color are nominated – which we definitely know isn’t the case tonight. I’m watching this year solely to see Chris Rock – who’s taking his second stint as the Academy Award host, his first sting being in 2005 back when Jamie Foxx won his Best Actor for RAY (and you know that was a very black year) – and what I believe will be one remarkable opening monologue. Not only am I looking forward to his monologue, but any biting critique he shares for the remainder of the show – honestly if I can hang in that long, but I am committed to signing in for the first part!
I’m hoping Rock does what he does best – which is highlight the elephant in the room in such a way that even though you’re uncomfortable you can’t help but acknowledge, accept or be shamed by what’s spoken. As a matter of fact, I’m looking forward to watching some uncomfortable reactions and seeing the camera pan on faces that may or may not reflect discomfort, agreement or pure agitation.
Why would I want to witness this, some of you are asking? It’s simple. Because I want truths spoken and tea spilled to further the uncomfortable conversations that need to take place. Let’s keep tackling and bringing awareness to this diversity issue – which is impacting every person of color, not just African-Americans, and subsequently everyone because we are not seeing accurate reflections of who we are in total.
Now for those of you who aren’t watching, I do have a few alternative recommendations of what you can view today. The first selection, #JusticeForFlint, is starting at 5pm est, so those who are watching the awards can join in for a bit as well, and is live streaming at Revolt.tv. A benefit fundraiser held by filmmakers, and a couple of MMT faves, Ava DuVernay and Ryan Coogler, #JusticeForFlint will be hosted by comedian Hannibal Buress and feature performances by Janelle Monae, Ledisi, Andra Day, Vic Mensa, Jazmine Sullivan, Musiq Soulchild, Robert Glasper, Jesse Williams, Jussie Smollett, Jasiri X, Vic Mensa, and more.
For those of you who stream Netflix, a service that is slaying the game in terms of diversity, why not catch up on a few films or TV shows, such as Beasts of No Nation (which was tragically overlooked by Academy voters this year) or any of the Netflix Picks that this site has highlighted since October of last year.
Don’t have Netflix? That’s cool. Go online to CRACKLE, which you can also stream to your TV, and find some great selections there – including a few of my faves including The Greatest, the 1977 film which stars the GOAT himself, Muhammad Ali, portraying – who else – himself! And if you’re into thrillers, I recommend Unthinkable, a 2014 edge-of-your-seat film starring Samuel Jackson and Carrie-Ann Moss, or you’re into action/martial arts, I recommend the Spike Lee directed remake Old Boy – but be warned the latter has an ending that really is “unthinkable!”
Looking for another free option? Then head on over to Bounce TV, whose line-up today includes the classics Waiting to Exhale and He Got Game!
And for those of you who are sitting TV out this evening, but may be interacting on social media, why not log into Twitter where African Amedia is hosting “The Sidneys,” so named after legendary actor Sidney Poitier with the hashtag #SidneysSoWoke, to pay tribute to your favorite actors, directors, and films in black cinema?
Well family, if nothing more, I hope this post offers food for thought, and inspires you to think about some of the diversity challenges that exist. And I hope it also shares viewing alternatives that you were not yet aware. Please feel free to share some thoughts in the comments and, as always, I look forward to reading what you have to say.
Until next thought, Thomasena
PS – check out Chris Rock’s opening monologue from 2005 below and get your life! He better slay tonight!