Original Aunt Viv From ‘The Fresh Prince’ Calls Out Jada Pinkett and Will Smith for 2016 Oscars Boycott
While actors and filmmakers like Jada Pinkett-Smith and Spike Lee come out against the Academy Awards’ lack of diversity in their nominations, announcing that they plan on boycotting the ceremony in protest, a backlash has begun, with some, like director John Singleton, not seeing any issue with the all-white selections. In what has been the biggest blow back though, Janet Hubert, who played Aunt Viv on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air posted a video Monday (Jan. 18) slamming Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith for their outcry over the nominations.
“There’s a lot of shit going on in the world that you all don’t seem to recognize,” Hubert says in the four-minute clip. “People are dying, our boys are being shot left and right, people are starving, people are trying to pay bills, and you’re talking about some motherfuckin’ actors and Oscars. It just ain’t that deep.”
Hubert is animated throughout the video, speaking with conviction and past experience. “For you to ask other actors to jeopardize their career and their standing in a town that you know damn well you don’t do that,” she says. “And I find it ironic that somebody that’s made their living and made millions and millions of dollars from the very people that you’re talking about boycotting just because you didn’t get a nomination. Just because you didn’t win. That is not the way life works, baby. It’s very suspect to me.”
About half way through, Hubert recalls a time with Smith on the set of Fresh Prince when he had a chance to advocate for other black actors and opted to do otherwise. “I seem to remember at option time coming to you and saying ‘You know what Will, you’re the star of the show why don’t we all get together and with you maybe we can get a little raise. Maybe the network, since the show is such a hit and you being the star of the show, your influence will help us greatly.’ Like they did on Friends. Like white shows do. Remember that? And your response to me was, ‘My deal is my deal is and y’alls deal is y’alls deal.’ Well karma must be a bitch cause now here you are.”
Hubert then goes on to praise Idris Elba, who was also snubbed by the Academy for his role in Beasts of no Nation. By contrast, she found Smith’s role in Concussion as the Nigerian doctor Bennet Omalu less compelling. “Maybe you didn’t deserve a nomination,” she says. “I didn’t think frankly you deserved a Golden Globe nomination with that accent.”
Hubert concludes the video by telling the A-list couple to get over themselves and to take a critical look at their own exclusionary practices. “You have a huge production company that you only produce your friends, your family and yourself. So you are a part of Hollywood. You are a part of the system that is unfair to other actors. So get real.”
The Academy Awards will air Feb. 28 with host Chris Rock, who is sure to have a thing or two to say about the nominations.
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