The 88th Annual Academy Awards

I’ve stopped watching awards for a few years now. I don’t really know what made me stop watching them, it just kind of happened. As if I woke up one day and no longer cared about who won which award or who was best dressed. It all just became irrelevant to me.

This year made the 88th annual Academy Awards, and Chris Rock was the host. As I said before, I wasn’t interested in watching. I wasn’t interested because as I mentioned before, I’m now uninterested in almost all of the Awards, but for this particular Awards I had even more reasons to not want to tune in. There wasn’t one Black actor that was nominated for an Oscar. That fact alone caused an uproar which lead to Will Smith, his Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 11.22.01 AMwife Jada Pinkett Smith, and others boycotting the Oscars.
For some reason, and believe me I do not know why, Stacey Dash was asked her opinion on it, and boy oh boy, did her response go viral and reck even more havoc. To sum it all up, she made a mockery of Black people. Dash responded with her thoughts of Black History Month, BET, BET Awards, Centric and more, as saying, “We have to make up our minds. Either we want segregation or integration.” She went on by explaining that Black people would be angered if there were an awards where only White people were awarded, as well as saying there is no White History Month, therefore there shouldn’t be a Black History Month. There’s a lot I could say about that but I think the media covered it all.
Now back to the Awards last night, Chris Rock had his opening monologue where he explained that Black people only wanted the same opportunities that White people had. The crowd applauded as celebrities tweeted about how great the monologue was and how funny Chris Rock was. He mentioned the fact that no Black actors were nominated and how his friends and family told him he should “quit” as his role of the host for the Awards. Rock even then went on to make a joke stating that it’s always the unemployed people telling you to quit your job. Lol, I’ll get back to this.
Lastly, before I throw all my opinions out, he made a “joke” about diversity outreach where Stacey Dash came out on stage giggling and said, “I cannot wait to help my people out. Happy Black History Month.”
I like to believe I have a great sense of humor. But none of that was funny to me. From the Black unemployment jokes to Stacey Dash giggling about helping her people out. None of it was funny. If anything, it was degrading. It was a mockery and it was embarrassing to oth
er Black people. Embarrassing to see Chris Rock make light of the fact that’s it’s 2016 and the only time Black actors can truly be appreciated and recognized are at our own awards that Stacey Dash feels are unnecessary. It was embarrassing to hear a crowd full of privileged white people laugh at jokes about unemployment in the Black community. And far more embarrassing to hear the uncomfortable light giggling when Stacey Dash came out and made a fool of herself and her race. If even the white celebrities grew uncomfortable from hearing that and took to Twitter to share theScreen Shot 2016-02-29 at 11.22.11 AMir opinions of Stacey Dash; imagine how the Black community themselves felt to hear and see one of our own smile with a face of pale foundation on while making a joke of Black History Month.
Growing up my parents have always told me, “Do not put on a show for White people.” In the times of slavery, Black people were literally white people’s amusement. We actually got on stages at their parties and get togethers and acted as clowns to amuse the white people. When I watched the clips that went viral of Stacey Dash and Chris Rock I couldn’t help but shake my head and think of that line my parents embedded in me. They were truly putting on a show in a crowd full of white people, and only one term can be used to describe how I felt towards them both: sell outs.
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by DaMAYA WALLACE
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