#OscarsSoWhite

Some days ago the Reverend Al Sharpton made the news again, for preaching a sermon on  the nonviolent, civil disobedient; boycott of the Academy awards…you know, The Oscars. Followed by This on Monday from Jada Pinkett Smith.  At first glance I gave it a thumps up and shared it with my wife as a I couldn’t agree more kind of a thing.

osow2 I later realized it was part of a celebrities against the Oscars thing. Spike Lee also voiced his criticism of the Academy Awards in  The Hollywood Reporter interview. Then came the  Huff post to tell us why we ALL should be upset that  #OscarsSoWhite. Well, if you haven’t already seen the list here is the 2016 Academy Awards nomination Oscar list  I did see a few movies on the list, but there were others I saw that were not on the Academy’s list. For instance Rogue Nation and Furious 7 are not there but then again that’s Action.  Also Insurgent and Creed didn’t make it but Mr. Holmes did, more on my reason why they didn’t get to Top movie list later. For now let’s continue with the white awards notion…

The other day the forth in line of our 20 something children, came to me complaining about the Oscars and about Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest film. Honestly I don’t remember what she said but I am seeing a pattern among the younger generations, that are very troubling. My 12 year old, soon to be 13 daughter; is attracted to the teen female action movies. Most of her books are the same way…they both have grown up in a world or maybe it’s just, a country so divided. Divided by age, complexion, ethnicity, sex/gender etc. Where as I did not, sure there where prejudices…but read books!  not Y, YA, Adult, New Adult fiction. We saw either a family movie, a musical or a movie. So, I benefited from seeing what mother saw. Today, movies are so divided that you and your child may never see the same movie…as you will go separately. So, my discussions usually go something like this: I did worry about being represented, I wasn’t concerned about The Bradys or The Waltons being white it was the family stories that were important. The stories transcended the color of their skins. Likewise, when Good Times came on  I’d  watch it…before Good Times, there was a huge TV event, a mini series called Roots. I remember mostly, because my dad bought us a color TV so we could see it in color. My mother didn’t make a big deal out of black people on TV but she would turn to something  if it had an actor of color she knew and was interested in. I can’t say I found a greater connection with TV shows or movies with people who like me in it. I grew up in the Projects in the north east Bronx, but our life and those around me didn’t look like the Evans from Good Times.  Those images, allowed me to focus on the story and to appreciate storytelling from other points of view.

Today, as an adult, I can and do watch Independent films, Foreign films with subtitle and so on. I do Not  limit myself to movies or television that only have people that look like ME . I find that very short sighted…How can one claim to love Cinema and not watch a film from another country or culture. Netflix sometimes shows a list of movies that are popular from around my zip code…and I almost always shake my head at the list. It’s nearly always a list of some gang movie, all black cast, martial arts or something to do with sex and drugs in the hood.  S0, what does this have to do with the Oscars? You ask. Well first look at the mindset of talking heads and their viewing audience. As viewers if my daughters don’t look outside of the Box they can be caught up the wind of the narrative, especially the older one. The mindset would be a pigeon hold one, like Netflix’s in your area list. Which reads like, there are people who will never understand anyone else because they only see/watch one thing. And like an eagle the Sharptons, Smiths and lees of the world swoop down and pick what little minds they have left, away..  John Singleton had a different prospective, read it here and this is a guy who came along during Lee’s career high point.  In those days people were just trying to get The Story told or seen in this case. Yes told through their lenses for sure, but getting it out there was the point. Even if you don’t get an award millions of people saw your work. As a writer and author I’m not too worry about awards or if my story becomes a movie, would I like that…? Absolutely! But what I really, really want is for people to read my story told from my view point. I’m a christian, many my perhaps question that and I say, I don’t care!  I write stories for a broader readership not just Christians. Will some stories have christian themes or characters, of course they will. But Christians come in all sorts of walks and cultures…  Again, the point is to be heard. Smith and Lee have made millions of dollars and their work lives, forever!   Smith says it’s time to stop begging because it diminishes the powerSharpton wants the force the Academy to not only “recognize” black, but forcibly make them put a “Black film” or “Black Actor” at the top of their list…Or else!  Talk about diminishing “Power” If forced, wouldn’t that make the choice invalid?  It wasn’t chosen by or on merit.  Which also brings up another issue of epic “Racist”proportions. How is it that they Only see “Black” and White”? Isn’t that by today’s vernacular, Racist?  What about the other ethnicities  they fail to see and protest over?  Like…Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Native American and a very long list of others. Even this young lady  Jessica Eggert  gets it, read what she points out. It’s so ridiculous, that the Academy has to defend itself read it yourself here.  Question…Why not boycott the Tony’s, Golden Globe or Emmys awards shows? I kinda know what you’re going to say…but since were are on the subject of Black. Have ever heard of a director named Antonio Fuqua? osow7 maybe not, but I bet you’ve seen at least one of his films, like Olympus Has Fallen look him up I’m sure you’ll like what you find. How about Luther? osow6 A detective played Idris Elba, neither probably received massive awards but it is a great TV show with an awesome actor and great action films by a brilliant director. And The Story got an opportunity to be told and millions saw it and the actors were paid well!  Listen to Elba in his own words  address “Diversity”. Perhaps, there should be less whining about skin color and more effort into getting the stories told…

Oh yeah, back to why I believe some of My movie favorites didn’t top the list. In all my many years of living, I’ve noticed the Academy’s Top picks have almost always been Dramas or Character driven pieces. Very few action movies make the top 5 and only recently have cartoons gotten close. So, I don’t look the awards show to validate  my choices of what I pay my money to watch. Nor do I look to them to dictate to me what is Good…or worthy enough, for me to see the day after the trophy is given. And neither should you, dear reader. You have a mind of your own…But, if you want my advice, expand your to mind to include films and actors from everywhere.    Until next time…

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