Between Aunt Viv's, BET's & Stacey Dash's clapbacks, I am enjoying the debates and analyses of Black American ideologies in all there sociopolitical glory and ideological fallacies and conundrums; Janet Hubert and Stacey Dash are publicly displaying the diversity of Black American Thought. Janet Hubert's response to Jada Pinkett-Smith's audio-visual call to boycott the Academy Awards has literally propelled Ms. Hubert, even if only for a week's news cycle, back into the psyches of Hollywood elite and the players, producers, and money-men who own and operate it.
In a most verbose fashion, Black Americans are conspicuously, in the age of social media , 24-hour news outlets, and perpetual sound-bytes, deconstructing the idiotic farce that Black folks in America are a monolithic lot; We are either all for Obama and Cosby, or we are against them. We are either Team Malcolm or Martin. Team DuBois or Booker T. We are either -pro or –anti police. We are either Republican or Democrat. Are we “hood” or “bourgeoisie”? We are either “real” or a “Sambo” or “Uncle Tom”. Stacey and Janet, in my opinion and scholarly deduction, are both spot on--to an extent. You might not have liked their delivery or even questioned the vehicle or media outlet or platform in which they chose to deliver that message but their messages are clear, and I will mesh the two focal points from these “woke” ladies into what I believe as a scholar, writer, and Black American meant: You cannot be a part of Hollywood or America, as 13% of the population, and get upset when the majority doesn’t give you more public acknowledgement than you are statistically worth. You cannot tell the masses what to do when you are utilizing the masses to disseminate your messages. Either get your own or accept the circumstances, be they good or bad, without a public outcry—particularly if the institutions, or powers-that-be, have aided and assisted, and do aid and assist, in your financial stability and hierarchical ability to “boycott” or “speak out” against the aforementioned “oppressive” institution or establishment.
Many in the Twittersphere, both Black and white, and in the Book of Faces (Facebook) have had all kinds of analyses, critiques, and commentary on the impetus, possible repercussions, and solutions, behind Jada’s video-call to boycott the Oscars. Every social commentator and ethno-historian and philosopher of the American Race problem has disseminated a scathing or praising rhetorical composition on Janet Hubert’s Youtube clapback and Stacy Dash’s response to Jada and Spike, and Will, and Viola Davis by default (she’s allegedly going to be on vacation during the Academy Awards) and Idris Elba and Quinton Tarantino, our adopted, by way of the clandestine Racial Draft that is convened in homes, churches, barbershops and beauty shops all across Black America boycott of or challenging of the Oscar’s practices of exclusion of African American thespians from acknowledgement, acceptance, and awarding of dramatic excellence.
I can imagine that the uber-Black, revolutionaries, the racist imbeciles, and even the empathetically loving liberal whites in America may think that the Black actor is complaining, whining even, about something trivial. Like, who really cares about movies? Who really can feel sorry for people that get paid to play make-believe, who, even at their worst paying gig, make more than your average citizen with a good job? A TVOne, Lifetime, or Sci-Fi channel original movie probably pays a bit cast member more for a few weeks of filming than your average elementary or high school teacher makes in a year. How can they complain? Especially if they’re Black. Why is art or cinema or the Black depiction of cinematic art important and why should it be acknowledged by the Academy? Do Black Americans really need white people to acknowledge their existence in and contribution to the film industry, let alone go as far as to reward and award it?
Art, be it Literature, music, or film, has historically been the major form of display for humanity. It serves as a historical narrative that defines, if not redefines, a person or a people’s position in society. So, to say that Black American films must be recognized and given their due in the American cinematic landscape is an understatement. We’ve come a long way since “Birth of a Nation”, and, if the United States is going to continue touting itself as a melting pot of cultural diversity, how can it not acknowledge, and showcase, African American representation in film and dramatic entertainment? Yet, if African Americans and the Black folks in this nation want equality and an independence-of-sorts, along with unadulterated integration into what Dr. Martin Luther King called "the burning house", then we, and they, must not gripe if we do not get the due diligence and recognition in which we, or they, think they deserve because, often times, integration and equality has a habit of neglecting and disregarding the individual as well as the masses. To quote Stacy Dash, "Either we want to have segregation or integration. And if we don’t want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the (NAACP) Image Awards where you’re only awarded if you’re black." Or, to paraphrase Aunt Viv (Janet Hubert), "Motherf#ck, the Oscars."