4:00 pm EST, January 18, 2016

Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith boycotting Oscars after #OscarsSoWhite controversy

By Andrew Sims | Edited by Donya Abramo

Two Hollywood stars are vowing to not attend the Oscars after the four lead categories offered zero nominations to people of color for the second year in a row.

Malcom X director Spike Lee, who received an honorary Oscar this past November, published a lengthy post on Instagram early this morning to protest the very white list of nominees. In it, he said he won’t attend the ceremony.

“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,” wrote Lee, who seemingly has a love for the shift key on his iPhone. “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.”

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith also decided today that she wouldn’t be attending or even watching the Academy Awards. She said on Facebook in a video titled “We must stand in our power,” “The Academy has the right to acknowledge whoever they choose, to invite whoever they choose, and now I think that it’s our responsibility now to make the change. Maybe it is time to pull back our resources and we put them back into our communities, into our programs, and we make programs for ourselves that acknowledge us in ways that we see fit, that our just as good as the so-called ‘main stream’ ones.

“Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity, and diminishes power, and we are a dignified people, and we are powerful. Let’s not forget it. So, let’s let the Academy do that. With all grace and love. And let’s do us differently.

“Hey Chris [Rock], I will not be at the Academy Awards and I won’t be watching, but I can’t think of a better man to do the job at hand this year than you, my friend.”

She added on Twitter:

With a full month to go until the Oscars air live on ABC, we wouldn’t be surprised to see additional actors and actresses pull out of attending or watching the awards.

Related: Why are the #OscarsSoWhite?

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