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will smith joins jada in oscars boycott

'There's a regressive slide towards separatism, towards racial and religious disharmony, and that's not the Hollywood that I want to leave behind.'

by i-D Staff
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Jan 22 2016, 6:16pm

Will Smith has confirmed he'll join his wife Jada in boycotting this year's Oscars. Not a single black person received an acting nomination, despite a number of buzzed about performances by people of color. Many film critics were surprised to see Michael B. Jordan's performance in Creed ignored, along with Will Smith's in Concussion, Samuel L. Jackson's work in The Hateful Eight and Idris Elba's turn in Beasts of No Nation.

Jada posted her statement about the nominations to Facebook on Monday. "Begging for acknowledgment, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power... Let's let the academy do them, with all grace and love. And let's do us differently." Will, a two-time Oscar nominee, spoke with Good Morning America this morning to praise Jada's move: "it was her call to action, for herself, and for me and for our family to be a part of the solution." He continued, "there is a position that we hold in this community, and if we're not part of the solution, we're part of the problem," Smith said.

Earlier this week Will's former Fresh Prince costar, Janet Hubert, criticized Jada's comments claiming the Smith family's boycott was motivated by bitterness, as Will was not nominated for Concussion. Today, our favorite Fresh Prince corrected Janet, saying "This is so deeply not about me. This is about children who are going sit down and watch this show, and they're not going to see themselves represented."

Will went on to make it very clear that the past two years of all-white nominations prove the Academy is moving backwards. 

"I've been nominated twice for Academy awards, and I've never lost to a white person. The first time I lost to Denzel, and the second time I lost to Forest Whitaker. For me that was huge. So when I see this list and series of nominations that came out—and everybody is fantastic—everybody is beautiful and deserving, and that's the complexity of this issue. But it feels like it's going in the wrong direction....there's a regressive slide towards separatism, towards racial and religious disharmony, and that's not the Hollywood that I want to leave behind."

The actor's wonderful words follow not only his wife's footsteps, but visionary director Spike Lee's—who recently clarified that he isn't "boycotting" the ceremony, he's just planning to go to a Knicks game instead. No white actor is yet to join them in solidarity.