The actress who played Aunt Viv in the hit ‘90s TV series “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” has launched a 4-minute video attacking former co-star Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, who had announced plans to boycott this year’s Oscars ceremony over the lack of diversity among acting nominees.
“There’s a lot of [expletive] going on in the world that you all don’t seem to recognize,” Janet Hubert, 60, said in the video, E! reported. “People are dying. Our boys are being shot left and right. People are starving. People are trying to pay bills. And you’re talking about some [expletive] actors and Oscars. It just ain’t that deep.”
“And I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living, made their living and made millions and millions of dollars from the very people you’re talking about boycotting just because you didn’t get a nomination, just because you didn’t win,” added the actress, who has since appeared in numerous television shows, including a five-year stint as Lisa Williamson on “One Life to Live.”
The Academy’s all-white list of acting nominees this year has outraged many, with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite resurfacing from last year’s boycott.
Ms. Smith, whose husband wasn’t nominated for his performance in the NFL drama “Concussion,” said she would not attend this year’s ceremony and wouldn’t watch it on television.
“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,” she said in a video posted Monday on Facebook.
“Chi-Raq” director Spike Lee similarly took to Instagram to say he “cannot support” Hollywood’s executive “gate keepers” who “Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To ‘Turnaround’ Or Scrap Heap.”
“How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White?” Mr. Lee wrote. “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!!
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs released a statement Monday night addressing the controversy.
“I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees,” she said, E! reported. “While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes.
“The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond,” she said.
“This isn’t unprecedented for the Academy,” Ms. Isaacs added. “In the ‘60s and ‘70s, it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together.”