Political correctness has threatened to wrap its tentacles around Hollywood’s biggest night.
Filmmaker Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith, both prominent African Americans, announced this week they would boycott this year’s Academy Awards on February 28 because all 20 nominees in the acting categories are white for the second year in a row.
Jesse Lee Peterson, a black radio host and president of the religious nonprofit BOND, is not standing in solidarity with Lee and Smith. On the contrary, he told WND, they “need to get over themselves.”
“It’s obscene for Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith to whine and threaten to boycott the Academy Awards over false claims of racial discrimination,” said Peterson, whose latest book is titled “The Antidote: Healing America from the Poison of Hate, Blame, and Victimhood.”
He continued: “The only color Hollywood and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences care about is green. Spike Lee, Jada Smith, and any other blacks complaining about being snubbed by the Academy need to shut up and make better movies.”
In a lengthy Instagram message, Lee wrote: “How is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white? And let’s not even get into the other branches. Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can’t act?!”
Lee said he was deliberately writing his message on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He invoked King’s famous quote: “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it’s right.”
The filmmaker asserted the “real battle” over racism in Hollywood is not with the Oscars, but with the executive offices of movie studios and TV and cable networks, where decision makers give some films the “green light” and reject others.
“People, the truth is we ain’t in those rooms and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain lilly [sic] white,” Lee wrote.
Peterson, however, does not buy that racist decision makers are responsible for shutting blacks out of the Oscars or the movie business.
“Blacks are not being snubbed by the Academy due to their race; they’re not winning Oscars because their work doesn’t stand out and their movies don’t make as much money,” Peterson argued.
“Fifty-five to 60 percent of the revenue that a movie generates comes from international showings. Movies that star black actors and actresses don’t do well overseas, so you can’t blame Hollywood for casting whites in blockbuster films.”
Larry Elder, a black radio host and lawyer, believes ordinary African Americans don’t care about the lack of diversity in Oscar nominations.
“Blacks watch more TV, by far, than any other racial group,” said Elder, a WND columnist. “They see more movies than whites. They couldn’t care less about the lack of Oscar nominations because they’re voting with their feet – they enjoy the fare that Hollywood is producing.”
Elder also rejected the idea that blacks need to see members of their own race on the silver screen in order to feel good about themselves.
“Studies have long shown that blacks have more self-esteem than whites: black girls more self-esteem than white girls, black boys more self-esteem than white boys,” Elder revealed. “Clearly the presence or lack of ‘good role models’ on the screen has nothing to do with personal self-esteem on the part of blacks.”
In a Facebook video posted on Martin Luther King Day, Pinkett Smith said she would neither attend nor watch the Oscars. She said people of color have amassed enough power and influence that they no longer need to ask for acknowledgement from the Academy.
“The Academy has the right to acknowledge whoever they choose, to invite whoever they choose, and now I think that it’s our responsibility now to make the change,” Smith said. “Maybe it is time that we pull back our resources and put them back into our communities, into our programs, and we make programs for ourselves that acknowledge us in ways that we see fit, that are just as good as the so-called ‘mainstream’ ones.”
Peterson noted how Smith constantly used “our” to refer to the black community.
“There’s nothing wrong with being independent and building your own company and brand, but when Jada Pinkett Smith says ‘our people’ and ‘our community’ she sounds like a bigot!” Peterson exclaimed.
Peterson, whose columns appear on WND, pointed out Smith is a close friend of Sister Souljah, the black rapper who gained notoriety after the 1992 Los Angeles riots. That year, Sister Souljah was quoted in the Washington Post as saying, “If black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?”
Bill Clinton, who was running for president at the time, publicly criticized Souljah’s remark.
Peterson also noted that last September Pinkett Smith and her husband, actor Will Smith, donated $150,000 to Louis Farrakhan’s Oct. 10 “Justice… or Else!” march. Farrakhan is the Nation of Islam leader who has been accused of racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric in the past.
“Anyone that supports an evil man like Farrakhan has serious issues and doesn’t have love,” Peterson declared.
What’s more, Al Sharpton has joined Smith and Lee, promising to organize a national TV boycott of the Oscars for the Academy’s failure to nominate any black actors.
“Anyone who stands with a race hustler like Sharpton under the banner of ‘civil rights’ is hurting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and setting race relations back 150 years,” Peterson said. “Shame on these people!”
Peterson said the blacks complaining about the lack of diversity in the Oscars sound like they want affirmative action in Hollywood. He advises them to stop begging for handouts.
“The problem with most black Americans, especially those in Hollywood, is that they feel entitled to have things simply because they’re black,” Peterson said. “They’ve been told that white folks owe them, so when things don’t go their way they blame and play the victim.”
Elder, the author of “Dear Father, Dear Son,” also ridiculed the idea of affirmative action in the movie business.
“Should there be quotas?” he asked. “Should a certain number of every color be nominated every year, lest we accuse a famously liberal industry of ‘racism?’ And who sits around counting the number of actors of color in the first place? When you watch an NBA game do you ask how many black players, white players, et cetera?”
Peterson noted blacks in America have already reached high places, so they are running out of excuses, particularly in Hollywood.
“They have a black president in Barack Obama, the president of the Academy Awards is black, they have black A-list actors, and they have Black Entertainment Television – what more do they want?” Peterson demanded.
“At what point will blacks stop blaming whites and take responsibility and work on improving their character and their craft?”