I want to pose the question, “What can black celebrities do to showcase their talents without gaining the approval of others in the entertainment industry AKA Hollywood?” This is a question that many black people should think about because we have been overlooked for a long time. It is easy to get upset because an actor or singer did not win an award for their talent.
One major reason I brought up this issue is that Jada Pinkett Smith expressed her feelings of boycotting the Oscars because her husband Will Smith did not get nominated for his role in the film Concussion. Most importantly she also believes that black people should stop begging for approval from white people. I wholeheartedly agree with her statement because black actors and actresses have been disrespected by Hollywood’s ignorance of providing them stereotypical roles.
Black actors and actresses should boycott the Oscars altogether because they never valued our talent in the first place. Black people need to understand that we are much more capable of leaving a body of work that should inspire future generations to own something that we can call our own. Younger generations need to understand the importance of ownership so that they do not make the same mistakes that the previous generations have made.
Here is the problem: some black people in Hollywood are comfortable portraying these roles because they are getting paid and this is all that matters to them. It is harder for them to speak out and create change in an industry that has always seen us as inferior. Awards should not define our careers, but some black people tend to give them power because we do not love ourselves. We are always looking outside ourselves for others to accept us.
The harsh reality is that Hollywood has and will never accept you for your talent. Loving and valuing yourself means a lot more than getting an award. History has shown only a few black actors and actresses have won the Oscar in eighty-eight years. Most of the awards won depicted blacks in demeaning roles such as slaves, butlers, maids, drug dealers and corrupt leaders. Hollywood has always been racist and will never treat black celebrities with respect until we unite and seek out other like-minded individuals that share our interests.
One effective solution is entrepreneurship. As black people, it is important to create our own movies, music, TV shows, fashion, and award shows that represent us. If black people want to gain respect, we need to create our own stories and control the images that we project on screen. We should not and cannot allow Hollywood to do it for us because they will always portray us in a negative light.
I will give you an example. The Asian community has their own film industry and does not need Hollywood’s approval to make anything. This is because they are willing to invest their money and work together in creating something that has value. One country that has a booming film industry is South Korea. Unlike Hollywood blockbusters, they do a wonderful job of creating films that are personal to their culture that younger generations can appreciate. The major difference between blacks and Asians is that Asian people are more educated about their history.
Therefore, their films reflect a sense of pride and self-esteem that many black people in America lack. We can learn a lot from the Asians if we are willing to take the time and seek the necessary solutions that will help us thrive in our careers. I believe that it would be great if black millionaires come together and hire their own to create a body of work that allows us the opportunity in creating our own stories.
Black people have to start taking back their power and demanding respect. The only way to accomplish this goal is creating your own opportunities and forget about gaining acceptance from Hollywood. Unfortunately, a majority of white people that have the power in the film industry will never respect us.
As long as we love ourselves and work together to solve our problems, then we are capable of overcoming anything in this world. We can acknowledge each other talents and still be respected among our own peers. Supporting one another is an important element that will get us ahead in this industry.
Listen carefully to Jada Pinkett Smith’s statement about her reason for boycotting the Oscars: