February 29, 2016
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(ANTIMEDIA) The Academy Awards were steeped in controversy this year amid widespread criticism over the lack of African-American nominees in the main categories. This fact was somewhat ironic, considering an African-American host, Chris Rock, was selected for the event.
When news first circulated that all of the major nominees this year were white, Rock was pressured by the community to pull out of his commitment to the Oscars in protest. However, Rock instead promised he would use the platform to call attention to racism.
Rock wasted no time attacking Hollywood for its prejudices. In his opening monologue, Rock began, “Well, I’m here at the Academy Awards — otherwise known as the white People’s Choice awards. You realize if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job. Y’all would be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.”
He also said:
“It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means this whole no black nominees thing has happened at least 71 other times, ok? You got to figure that it happened in the ’50s, in the ’60s.”
“You know,” Rock continued, “when your grandmother’s swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary foreign short.”
Rock then extended his criticisms beyond the awards ceremony, speaking about racism in Hollywood in general. “Everyone wants to know in the world, is Hollywood racist? Is it ‘burning cross racist’? No. Is it ‘fetch me some lemonade racist’? No. It’s a different type of racist… Hollywood is ‘sorority racist.’ It’s like, ‘We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.’”
“We want opportunity,” Rock concluded. “We want black actors to get the same opportunities.”
Many black celebrities protested the event, including Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Spike Lee.
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