When this year's Academy Awards nominees were unveiled, a sadly predictable story started to unfold. The spot-on hashtag #OscarsSoWhite found little difficulty delivering its unfortunate sequel, given that diversity was once again largely absent from the display of nominated faces:
As the debate started to catch fire, many used their respective platforms to highlight the very real problem facing Hollywood's increasingly failed attempts at truly representing its audience. "At the Oscars…people of color are always welcomed to give out awards...even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments," Jada Pinkett-Smith tweeted shortly after the nominees were revealed. "Should people of color refrain from participating all together?"
Spike Lee is doing exactly that, revealing his decision to boycott this year's festivities in an impassioned Instagram message on Monday. "We cannot support it and [I] mean no disrespect to my friends, host Chris Rock, producer Reggie Hudlin, president Isaacs, and the Academy," the Chi-Raq wrote. "But how is it possible for the [second] consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white?"
"For too many years, when the Oscar nominations were revealed, my office phone rings off the hook with the media asking me my opinion about the lack of African-Americans and this year was no different," Lee said, adding that it was "no coincidence" he shared this message near the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birth. "For once (maybe), I would like the media to ask all the white nominees and studio heads how they feel about another all-white ballot."