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Friday, January 29, 2016

The Academy Awards - Not A Simple Case Of Black And White

I'm a huge Michael Jackson fan.  I don't even try to deny it.

From "Rock With You" to "Thriller" to "The Way You Make Me Feel" to "Remember The Time" and even to "Love Never Felt So Good", I don't think that there's a single song by him that I dislike.

One of my favourite singles by Michael Jackson was his 1991 song "Black or White".  It's a song that I remember hearing for the first time when I was in the fifth grade, and I seem to recall most of my classmates really liking it at the time.  Between the guitar solo performed by Slash to the celebrity cameos in the music video (keep your eyes peeled for Macaulay Culkin and Tyra Banks), it was definitely one of Jackson's most memorable songs, as well as one of the most meaningful.

You see, the subject of the song is all about racial harmony, and how it doesn't matter what your skin colour is...people can and should be who they want to be without facing any sort of prejudice and racism.

It's a song that has a great message, and is still relevant nearly a quarter of a century after it was released.

It's just too bad that this song isn't being used as the theme song for the upcoming Academy Awards that is set to be broadcast in just a few weeks from now because as far as I'm concerned, everybody who is involved needs to take a listen to the song's lyrics and meaning.

I suppose that by now most of you have heard the nominees for this year's Academy Awards, and I'm sure most of you have probably noticed that all of the nominees in the acting categories are Caucasian.

Well, this has certainly caused a lot of outrage in the entertainment industry and certainly everybody in Hollywood seems to have an opinion about it.

Some stars like Jada Pinkett Smith openly made their stances clear by recording video messages explaining why she urges everyone to boycott the Oscars.

(Mind you, this prompted Will Smith's former "Fresh Prince" co-star Janet Hubert to issue a scathing rebuttal of her own.)

And, of course, this prompted people on the other side to make their own voices heard, with Academy Award nominee Charlotte Rampling saying that the Oscars are actually racist towards white people!  Even non-Oscar affiliated people like FOX News correspondent Stacey Dash is getting in on the action by stating that Black History Month shouldn't even exist because it encourages segregation.

Of course, this is coming from a celebrity who did THIS on "Celebrity Name Game", so take her stance with a grain of salt.

Yep, it seems as though everyone has an opinion about the #OscarsSoWhite" controversy.

I myself have a question.  Does anyone remember when the Academy Awards were all about celebrating the best in film and not a soapbox to air your dirty laundry? 

Here's another question.  Can we go back to that?

I'm not denying the fact that all of the nominees this year happen to be white.  That's as clear as day.  Do I feel that this is fair?  Well, that's really debatable.  I for one am a little stunned that nobody from "Straight Outta Compton" was nominated for an award because it was a really good film.  And, while Jada Pinkett Smith has certainly opened up this discussion in the first place, I can sort of understand where she's coming from.  After all, her husband gave a really good performance in the movie "Concussion", and I'm quite surprised that he wasn't considered.

But that's not to say that the people who were nominated don't deserve to be there.  I think all the nominees earned it, and the right people were chosen regardless of colour lines.

The fact is that I don't believe that the Academy Awards are as racist as some people would want us to believe.  I mean, if that were the case, you wouldn't have seen Hattie McDaniel, Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx, Forest Whitaker, Louis Gossett Jr., Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Hudson, Mo'Nique, Octavia Spencer, and Lupita Nyong'o win the coveted award.  Mind you, that list could be longer, but it's not enough to claim that the awards are racist and should be boycotted.  That's just absolutely ridiculous, as far as I am concerned.  If the awards were really as racist as some are claiming, I guarantee you that list would be much shorter.  I also guarantee that you wouldn't see Chris Rock as the host of the show either.

And, here's an interesting fact for you all.  The last winner of an Academy Award that was a visible minority was in 2013.  That was only three years ago.  Compare that to the 1970s, where only FOUR were nominated.  For the whole decade.

Face it.  We've come a LONG way since then.

The Academy Awards are meant to showcase the biggest and brightest stars in a variety of genres of music.  And to be honest with you, I'm getting tired of trying to make every single event a controversy.

Just sit down and enjoy the show. 

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