Invisibility and the Oscars

So, if you’ve been online at all this past week then you’ve come across the news that the Oscars are totally devoid of color and diversity. Or as Chris Rock jokes, “The White BET Awards…”

Here’s the thing…from the view of POC, the Oscars have always been a Whites Only event. Definitely segregated. There have been thirteen African-American winners (both male and female) since 1939, with Hattie McDaniel being the first. And, thirty-two nominees over this time period as well. Since 1939!!!!!

Here’s the issue… are the Oscars trying to tell us, the entire world that there hasn’t been a worthy person of color  or movie(A-A, Asian, Latino, etc.) that should be nominated for this award in any category? Bye-Felicia! Y’all sound ridiculous! You know what? If I was petty, I would throw out names like Will Smith in Concussion, Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation, Michael B. Jordan in Creed, or Benecio Del Toro in Sicario. (Straight Outta Compton was nominated for best screenplay written by four white writers. Poetic justice, eh?) But, I’m not that petty unless the Oscars is indeed trying to tell us that little lie because I’m not buying it.straight-outta-compton And because these films resonated with the Academy. You want proof? Here’s your proof! Creed: Sylvester Stalone was nominated for best supporting actor, snubbed best film, best male lead, best female lead, and best screen play. Speaking of screenplay… Straight Outta Compton nominated for best screen play, written by four white writers and snubbed best actor or supporting, and director for that matter.

The truth is, there are plenty of non-white talent that should’ve been nominated. And, it’s a big freakin’ deal when a major award academy snubs the entire non-white world that supports movies with ticket purchases. It’s a big freakin’ deal to send a message to this population that tells them that they are not in the least bit talented, worthy, or even able to be acknowledged for their credible work. It reinforces the message that we’re invisible, not good enough, not equal. Do you see why we, POC, teach our children that they have to work twice as hard to measure up in this world? But unfortunately, this whole issue is an example that clearly says, “No matter how hard you work, you’re not going to be acknowledged. Tootle-loo!”

Dang.

I’ve read a comment on FB that said something like, “Why are y’all surprised. Stop expecting them to recognize us. We always want their recognition. It’s not going to happen.”

Double dang.

That’s the consensus of a lot of people in various areas in life. Stop trying so hard to be recognized or acknowledged by “them.”creed16

Let’s take a look when folks get tired of trying to prove we’re equal: BET is established to provide an outlet of TV and movies that reflect the diverse world in which we live (“For us, by us”); Black Girls Rock awards which doesn’t say that non-Black girls don’t rock, but since the world keeps Black Girls invisible they’ve stepped up to empower them; NAACP Image awards to honor exceptional people in the community; Coretta Scott King Awards to recognize outstanding writers of color.  (To name a few.)

So, when you see anger directed at a people for creating an outlet to be heard, seen, and awarded for their hard work and talent, don’t get mad. Don’t tweet from a privileged point-of-view where your entire race is reflected always, but understand what’s happening. Which I don’t understand — hate directed at folks who try to empower marginalized groups. What’s up with that?

Anyway… People are tired of being told (or reminded) that they’re not good enough to hang with the popular kids. They’re/We’re tired of being shown that we don’t matter. We’re tired of being invisible, begging for a seat at the table. As Jada Pinkett-Smith said, “The Academy has the right to invite whomever they choose…when you keep begging to be recognized you lose your dignity.” We haven’t been invited to the party, so there…  That’s why some have said, “Forget it, I’ll do my own thing.” And as the ol’ skool folks say, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

As for the Oscars? Like Oprah said, “When folks show you who they are, believe them.” LOL! They’ve shown the world for decades. Believe them.

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