Show Transcript
[BLANK_AUDIO] Hey everyone. I'm Yolanda Sangweni, Entertainment Editor at And we're here talking about the Academy Awards and its history of whitewashing #OscarsSoWhite. Joining me in this discussion is lifestyle and relationships editor Charlie Penn and our entertainment director, Korey Murray. [SOUND] We are talking about everything that you're talking about right now, especially Oscars so white. [LAUGH] And you know the Oscar's have been around for I don't know how many years, I won't lie and say that I know. It's been a long time. It's been a long time, and we were just talking before the camera started rolling on how Haddy Mcdaniel back in 1939 first black woman to win an oscar for best Actress. Mm-hm. And how she had to sit in the back of the room. She couldn't even use, she couldn't be in the same hotel. No. So this. Came through the kitchen. She came the kitchen. Yes. Which isn't an entrance. Yeah. So this whole, the Oscar, like Thing has been racist from the beginning. So we're here now, 2016, and the Oscars, Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the black woman heading the Oscars. She's trying her best. I will say that. We can't criticize her. And she just put out a, last week she said that the Oscars now Changing everything they're doing. So they're hearing what the public is saying. Oscar's so white and even how white actors are coming on this and saying listen, this is wrong. So what happens next? What do you think we should do? Should, not even we. Before we say we, what should actors in Hollywood, what should you do right now? I think if you have a voice and if you're an actor, let's say you're the lead of the show, I mean excuse me of a film and if you're in that process of casting or if it was your production company. Let's just throw out there like a George Clooney, who has been vocal in saying this has to stop, we need to fix this. Well he has a production company. So the next time he works on a film Maybe he should go hm, I think my elite needs to be a minority RIght It needs to be a woman, a black person, and I'm gonna give a little shine to the Asian Americans Yes Because I Love that New York Times piece op ed that Neil Aziz. Aziz Ansari? Aziz Ansari, excuse me, that he wrote about his plight as an Indian American actor in this country. So I think it needs to start from there and there's a lot of these big name people, the Brad Pitts of the world, the Matt Damons, who have these, Reese Witherspoon Put minorities in your films, and then that's how you start. Absolutely, and we need to tell our own stories. These writers are not people of color. Most of them are not even in the room, never mind lead writers, and you write about what you know. Right, we write about our own stories. Yes, yes. But we keep seeing the same stories on repeat because the same type of people are writing them. Yep. Look at Mindy Kaling. You mentioned Aziz but she wasn't getting the characters she wanted on television, so she wrote an entire TV plot, a story about her life. And what it's like to be her. Yeah. In America. You know, Carol, I didn't see it, but I hear all the hubbub about it. I know Kate Blanche is a great actress, but that could have easily been Angela [UNKNOWN] and Viola Davis. Absolutely. You know what I mean? Just change the color, change the color. And we're proving that on television right. Look at- thank you Shaunda. This is happening. She is showing us that every character can be played by Someone of any race. It's not a white role, or a black role. It's a good role. Yeah. I think it's important that both of you bring up the fact that Oscar's so white doesn't mean that we're only talking about black actors that need to be in the room. We're talking As April Raines, the woman who created the hashtag. We had an interview with her at [COUGH] [LAUGH] So April was saying that it's about getting more minorities in the room. Right. Getting more women. Mm-hm. Getting more disabled people, so it isn't just a black thing. Which celebrity voice has stood out to you in this whole thing. I like [INAUDIBLE]. Well Spike was being Spike. But I loved how he was like, I didn't say boycott. Right. You said a whole lot of stuff. [LAUGH] Mr. Lee, but I do, but honestly for me, it was Quincy Jones. Quincy Jones was down in Miami doing a talk with Norman Lear. Someone randomly asked him about what's going on. He was like, he said they need to boycott or fix it. And his reason was he was one of the first black Trustees or board on this Academy board, that was like back in 1964. He got one of the first black composers to be nominated. And he yet to, I'm not sure if he hasn't won, but he's like this has been going on for years. What's the problem. He's like in his 80's now being like This needs to change, and that to me really stuck to me because it's not somebody who's kind of like Tyrese being like Will Smith should go, but it's like Tyrese have you ever been? Transformers will never be nominated, ever. [LAUGH] And I loved it, I watched it just the other day with my daughter, but you know what I mean Quincy Jones is someone who's been there and has put in the quality work and has been nominated. But yet he's like this has been going on for too long. It's done. We need to stop. And we're always telling other, like when we're speaking out about racial injustice, we're always saying okay Stay mad, such and such. Stay mad. Mm-hm. We need to stay mad. Yeah. Mm-hm. As a people. That's kind of, I think what Quincy is saying, and what we should be, like we should have already been upset. We should be upset every year. Yeah. And we should be calling people out every year, because that was the whole issue with Jada. As much as I was really proud, and happy to hear her say what she had to say, I hated that I was kind of like, now you are saying this because of Will didn't receive the nomination that he was supposed, that you felt he was supposed to. Whether she was or wasn't it was like the timing, her message Important but the timing, in my opinion, was so questionable and I wanted to be like yeah Jada but then I was like but where were you last year and the year before and the year before. Yeah. You've been showing up in your gowns. Mm-hm. Smiling. Yeah. And all good with it. But this year is the year you speak out because it was personal? Yeah. We should be speaking out every year. Every year. Every time. So do you think black actors should show up for the Oscars this year? I don't. I feel they should, because you know something was telling. Did you all see the clip, with the debate. [LAUGH] What. Like Marlon Wayne's. Hello Oscar. [LAUGH] That was so funny by the way. You can keep my invite. All right. [LAUGH] I'm glad I'm not to that point. I think we should go in, do a sit in at the Oscars cuz I think. All right, we also, when Eddie Murphy presented years ago for Moonstruck and Last Emperor, he presented best picture. And when they panned to the audience, everybody was white. And I was like, I'm tired of seeing that white audience. We need to be there in the room, because I wanna When years come and we have to do this story again, I want us to be there. I don't think we should, I don't think boycotting the Oscar's is gonna buy us anything. If anything we need to boycott the movies industry. The industry absolutely but I also say the awards because I feel like for all of these people who are clueless who still don't yet get it, who are drowning in their white privilege or whatever, privilege in general. To show up and smile on that red carpet. Mm-hm. Is sending them a message that it's all good now. Yeah. And, I think for the people who are still learning and for an industry that really needs a wake up call, the last thing I think we need to do is Is to go in there and shake hands, and toast glasses, and look glamorous, and it acts as if we're enjoying it, and it's too little too late right now for me. I just feel like showing up, it's like that one little Band-Aid You know, fix this whole wound. And I don't think that's the right message to send. That's just me personally right now. And I also agree with you though, we should not be like I wanna see some of these films. But now I'm like, you what, hold on. Cuz it's my dollar You know, that matters. Yeah. Anything we can do to get a wake up call. But it's difficulty to just completely not supporting because then you wouldn't be supporting [UNKNOWN], you wouldn't be supporting straight out of Compton. So it's a very difficult as a [UNKNOWN]. At least what I've found. Yeah for sure. Yeah. And continue to rather. Now what if you bought your outfit already? I hear you, and we love it right [LAUGH] And we love the So real And we love [INAUDIBLE] A little conflicted, but I don't think we should just boycott But then it's like when you're on Instagram, you know You know like, you make it seem like it's all good now. And that's the thing, it's not a time to smile and it's not a time to gloss it over. If we're really gonna drive our point home. Should Chris Rock Not host the Oscars. I want to hear what Chris Rock has to say. I think he deserves, I think he has a platform that and this is a moment. And comedians traditionally really cross that line anyway. So he has a chance when everyone's listening to really speak out on this. I think he should upset them and maybe get kicked out midway through the Oscars I think he should go there, but I don't think he should stay home because he You already have the platform. Yes, yes. I don't think Chris Rock should not host the Oscars. Like JB Smooth was on high night 7 said there are lawyers involved, Listen There have been contracts. [INAUDIBLE] Are you gonna say With his money [LAUGH] My money. And I've been saying this. Chris Rock is a very smart comedian. He's very poignant. He is going to do this and he's gonna make a lot of them think. Thank you so much, everybody, So February 28th We'll be watching or not watching the Oscars? It's up to you. Well, we'll be talking about it either way. [LAUGH] [UNKNOWN] has got to win. But that's the thing that [INAUDIBLE] [CROSSTALK] Campaign to. [CROSSTALK] [INAUDIBLE] Said they're gonna watch Coming to America, so people are gonna be, cuz that is a unifying movie, right? Not only black people love that movie. Everybody loves that movie, so we'll see you on Twitter on Oscar night. And thank you for joining us. Absolutely

ESSENCE Editors Discuss #OscarsSoWhite Controversy and What Should Happen Next

Our editors take a deeper look at the complexities of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and debate next steps for people of color.