In light of what many see as a deliberate or inadvertent exclusion of Black artists from high-profile categories, a handful of celebrities have pledged to boycott next month’s Academy Awards. At press time, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Spike Lee and Al Sharpton had all promised to do so, with more announcements in that vein expected soon. Chris Rock, who is slated to host the evening, has found himself at the center of the controversy, with some hoping that he will relinquish his position, and others arguing that he should take the opportunity to address the issue from the stage. Now 50 Cent has chimed in, adding his voice to the former camp.
In a since-deleted post on his Instagram account, the Queens rapper wrote, “You mean a lot man, don’t do it,” where “it” is go through with his hosting gig. Tyrese Gibson made his own post in support of 50’s argument, adding that there is “no joke you can crack” to make up for the lack of diversity in this year’s list of nominees.
The root of the Oscars controversy is in the nominations for the four acting categories. Of the 20 men and women up for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, there is not a single Black contender. This comes in the wake of acclaimed pictures like Creed, Straight Outta Compton, Tangerine, Concussion and many more that featured Black talent behind the camera, in front of it or both.