Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Oscars boycott: Fresh Prince's 'Aunt Viv' tells Will Smith and Jada: 'Y'all need to get over yourselves'

By Claire Cromie

Published 20/01/2016

Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith
Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air's 'Aunt Vivian' has slammed Jada Pinkett Smith's Oscars boycott.

Janet Hubert, who starred alongside Will Smith in the 90s sitcom, is the latest celebrity to speak out about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.

To the Smiths!

Posted by Janet Hubert on Monday, 18 January 2016

The Academy Awards have come under fire for its all-white line-up of acting nominees, after Jada Pinkett Smith joined Spike Lee in saying she won't attend the 2016 ceremony.

Voters failed to nominate any African-Americans for the major awards and Jada's husband Will Smith was one of the black stars many Oscars experts felt should have received a nomination for his role in Concussion.

Now Janet Hubert has ripped into the couple, opening her tirade with: "First of all, Miss Thing, does your man not have a mouth of his own with which to speak?"

She rants: "I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living and has made millions and millions of dollars from the very people that you're talking about boycotting just because you didn't get a nomination, just because you didn't win?" said Hubert. "That's not the way life works, baby.

"You ain't Barack and Michelle Obama. And y'all need to get over yourselves. You have a huge production company that you only produce your friends and family and yourself. So you are a part of Hollywood, you are part of the system that is unfair to other actors. So get real."

Oscars president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has pledged "big changes" to bring about "much-needed diversity" in future.

But the row rumbles on.

Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong'o, who won the gong for Best Supporting Actress in 2013 for her role in 12 Years A Slave, wrote on Instagram: "I am disappointed by the lack of inclusion in this year's Academy Awards nominations.

 

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"It has me thinking about unconscious prejudice and what merits prestige in our culture."

She added: "The awards should not dictate the terms of art in our modern society, but rather be a diverse reflection of the best of what our art has to offer today.

"I stand with my peers who are calling for change in expanding the stories that are told and recognition of the people who tell them."

Spike Lee said he "cannot support" the "lily white" Oscars, while Pinkett Smith said it was time for people of colour to disregard the Academy Awards.

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In a video message posted online, she said: "Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power. And we are a dignified people and we are powerful."

Selma star David Oyelowo has also spoken out about the diversity problem, which was the subject of an online campaign last year using the hashtag OscarSoWhite.

Speaking at the King Legacy Awards, where he was presenting an award to Boone Isaacs, he said: "The Academy has a problem ... It's a problem that needs to be solved."

He added: "A year ago, I did a film called Selma and, after the Academy Awards, Cheryl invited me to her office to talk about what went wrong then.

"We had a deep and meaningful (conversation). For 20 opportunities to celebrate actors of colour, actresses of colour, to be missed last year is one thing; for that to happen again this year is unforgivable."

Boone Isaacs has responded to the controversy, writing in a statement on Monday: "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 make-up 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."

Awards night host Chris Rock is facing pressure to bow out, but has remained quiet on the subject so far.

However Whoopi Goldberg said: "Boycotting doesn't work, and it's also a slap in the face to Chris Rock."

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