There have been calls for Chris Rock to skip the Oscars in February, but he’d be wise to ignore them and use his time on stage to clown the Academy into oblivion. That, in my mind, would be the most impactful way to protest the organization’s refusal to diversify its voters and award nominees.
To be clear, I am an activist and radical at heart. I would love nothing more than to see Rock appear on stage, look into the camera, say “Deuces” to the millions of people watching, drop the mic and Crip Walk off stage to the beat of Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power.”
However, I know that won’t happen.
For one, I’m sure he has signed a contract that would make such a move legally impossible. But, for the sake of argument, let’s explore the possibility that he would consider such a maverick move. I really don’t think it would make much of an impact.
I mean, if the Academy gave a damn about black people showing up to their shows, it would nominate black folk for its awards. And while I admire and support Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith for not attending the Oscars, I am not sure if that will be the stick that breaks the backs of Academy voters who chose not to nominate any black performers for the second year in a row.
(Photo Credit: USA Today)
In my best Kanye West voice: the Academy does not care about black people.
Rock, though, is the ideal black person to make them care and that is why it wouldn’t make sense for him to boycott the show.
We need his humor to shame the Academy into realizing how much of a joke it is becoming in America's ever-growing ethnically diverse nation. And black folk need to be cheering him on from their living rooms, providing meme-by-meme color commentary in ways only #BlackTwitter can conceive.
Of course, I support actors who choose not to show up on Oscar night, but I also believe we need people like Rock protesting too.
On stage, to be exact.
I’m all for Jada and Lee throwing up the deuces to the Academy; as actors and directors, I get it. But I also believe Rock using his comedic genius to critique racism, in the ways that only he can, can be just as important and defiant as sitting out the Oscars.
We need both approaches.
I also appreciate April Reign’s social media push that’s shaming the Academy with #OscarsSoWhite. Reign started the hashtag last year in response to the Academy’s failure to nominate black actors and actresses. Unfortunately, the hashtag has been trending again this year for the same reason. And Reign is appearing on network television--again-- repeating the same thing she said last year: the Academy must diversify.
This unfortunate hashtag repeat should provide even more material for Rock to blast the Academy. Black people on Twitter have said they will not watch the Oscars because they would be supporting the ratings of a show that doesn’t showcase talent that looks like them.
I understand where they are coming from and I even considered not watching. But, I will tune in, just to see how Rock handles gravity of stakes involved. As far as I am concerned, his performance on Oscar night will be just as important as any stand-up routine he's ever done.
By watching the Oscars, I will not be supporting the Academy; I will be cheering for Chris Rock.
Rock already took a jab at the Academy by tweeting that the Oscars are the "white BET awards." I want to see him take this tweet to the next level and shame the Academy on live television on how backwards and behind it is on racial diversity.
So, not only am I looking forward to Rock showing up on Oscar night; I want this brotha to show out and act a fool.
That, y’all, would be the ultimate Oscar blackout.