John Singleton is refreshingly candid. While some may get quiet, shrink into their distinction and fade to black, the 59-year-old is just as excited about his current work as he was about Poetic Justice or Boyz n the Hood, 25 years ago.

Ahead of Snowfall‘s premiere, he spoke to ESSENCE about #OscarSoWhite and Black pain. The FX show is set against the backdrop of 1980’s cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles; Singleton serves as its executive producer. 

“I’m over the Oscars,” Singleton said. “I don’t deal with that. That organization is what it is. I’m a member. Some of those years, there was no one I felt that was passed over for an Oscar that shouldn’t have been passed over and in some of those years, there were. It was hubris from people who basically have all this money. But they didn’t put the work in. Go sit down.”

He also makes it clear who he believes was snubbed at the 88th Annual Academy Awards in 2016. “Creed was excellent and I felt like Straight Outta Compton should’ve been nominated for Best Picture,” he says adding, “and I think that Jason Mitchell should’ve been nominated. If nothing else, he was robbed.”

When talking about representation, the importance of accurate depiction coincides. And for Singleton being that vessel for his community, is his life’s work.

“Race, culture and politics – that’s what America is based on,” he said. “Trump got elected because there were people who were afraid of losing their privilege and sense of security. He got elected just as #BlackLivesMatter was reaching its zenith. Now everything has stopped. You don’t see the protests. It’s not like they’ve stopped killing us in the streets so what’s going on? There’s a lot of fear. Fear put him in office and he’s exasperating more fear to create a sense of social control.”

Adding, “It’s no different than the fear and control that happened when Snowfall is set during the Reagan administration. That was pretty damn bad growing up during the Reagan era. I don’t know how we got through those times.”

John Singleton’s Snowfall is on FX, Wednesdays at 10 pm/EST.