BY ESE DIBEBI
Selma star, David Oyelowo has joined the list of stars who have called out the Oscars as being biased against the blacks. The actor who was one of the casualties of last year’s “black Oscars snub” after missing out in the Best Actor category despite his portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma.
Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith, hip-hop star 50 Cent are some of the heavyweight names who have been pulled into the #OscarsSoWhite debate and now, Oyelowo has joined them. Funny thing, though, is Oyelowo is a part of the Academy – so his outburst at the King Legacy Awards is likely to come as a surprise to a few observers.
“The Academy has a problem. It’s a problem that needs to be solved. A year ago, I did a film called Selma, and after the Academy Awards, Cheryl (Boone Isaacs, Academy President) invited me to her office to talk about what went wrong then. We had a deep and meaningful conversation,” Oyelowo said.
The actor continued, “For 20 opportunities to celebrate actors of color, actresses of color, to be missed last year is one thing; for that to happen again this year is unforgivable.“
“This institution doesn’t reflect its president and it doesn’t reflect this room. I am an Academy member and it doesn’t reflect me, and it doesn’t reflect this nation…The Academy is an institution in which they all say radical and timely change cannot happen quickly. It better happen quickly. The law of this country can change in a matter of months. It better come on. The Oscars is on February 28. Cheryl needs us to pray that by that date, change is going to come. We need to pray for Cheryl, we need to support Cheryl, we need to love Cheryl. We cannot afford to get bitter, we cannot afford to get negative. But we must make our voice heard.“
Oyelowo also noted that the current biggest films at the box office have blacks as leads. “We have a situation whereby currently the biggest movie in the world and of all time [Star Wars: The Force Awakens] is led by a black man. That film was knocked off the top spot this weekend by a film led by two black men, Ride Along 2. The biggest TV show on the planet is led by black people, Empire.“