By Tomilola Coco Adeyemo
The conversation centred around this year’s lack of diversity at the Oscars is one that has been around for years.
Maybe this year the hashtag became more popular and people got more angry, but this is not the first time Black people have had issues with nominations.
The Oscars have been around for 88 years, has had 2947 winners but only 31 out of those Oscars have gone to black people.
Now before I go on, if you ask me, I would say the aforementioned reason is actually enough reason for Black people to cry out.
However, this article only came to be as a response to the ‘#OscarSoWhite Or should we admit #BlackSoCrap’ article of January 15th.
You can read the article here.
I have had conversations in the past, most recently over the weekend, with people who for some reason believe African Americans don’t work hard enough and that is simply the reason they don’t get nominations or eventually win. Those people usually go on to cite comedies and Tyler Perry movies as examples, forgetting that there is a category for those type of movies and it is okay to make them too. The numbers in the cinemas support this.
And while I would like to point out that there is nothing wrong with making “silly” comedies, that is not why we are here.
However, if you do follow good American movies, then you would strongly disagree that African Americans don’t work hard enough for Oscar nominations.
Question is, is there something else they should do?
Or perhaps the Academy is just mad Black people have started taking up roles other than the ones for Maids or Slaves/subservient roles that half of the Black Oscar winners have won the award for?
You may remember that the first ever black person (Hattie McDaniel) to win an Oscar, while sitting at a segregated table because racism reigned supreme in America at the time, won for playing a maid in the movie Gone With The Wind.
Actually, McDaniel played a Maid/Servant through most of her career, causing the black community to question her decision to continue to portray African Americans in the light they were trying to shed. However, while the Black community was strongly against the role, white America seemed elated that she’d chosen to be that person – it was the roles they sent her way till she died and was not allowed to be buried where she would have loved because of the color of her skin.
Years later, there have been movies like Selma, Creed, Dope, Straight Outta Compton and numerous other well made movies starring black leads giving extraordinary performances.
But do they get a nod? No.
Ava Duvernay did not get a nod for best director even after making one of the best movies (Selma) in the year 2014/2015. Ryan Coogler did not get a nod for scripting and directing Creed, Jason Mitchell who must have made Eazy E proud wherever he is did not get a nod for the amazing performance he gave in Straight Outta Compton. And let’s not forget how interesting it was that David Oyelowo did not get an Oscar for his beautiful portrayal of Martin Luther King in Selma.
Now, aren’t those good enough performances? Or are they going to be taken a bit more seriously if they played maids/slaves getting their asses whooped instead?
Because these movies would have gotten nominations in their respective categories if they were white. Yup, I said that.
Meanwhile, let’s not forget that these Black movies this year only got nominated for the Caucasian people who were a part of it. For example, Sylvester Stallone getting a nod in Creed and the White Writers getting a nod for Screenplay for Straight Outta Compton.
Now as for the people who say Blacks keep “bitchin” and “whining” because they don’t get nominations, I say, yes. Let them.
And yes, they also deserve to be nominated for every great performances they give, because unlike their Caucasian counterparts, they have not been given the recognition they deserve over the years. 31 Oscars placed side by side 2916 wins is clearly not equal from where I see it.
So I say every great performance MUST count and must be recognized.
It’s about that time.