I asked quite a few people if they were watching the Academy Awards and the replies were, “yes, I can’t wait to see what Chris Rock is going to say”, and boy, did he say it! He was very unpredictable, yet addressed all of the issues on the table.
Instead of entering the stage to a calm instrumental, he bounces onstage to the boisterous Public Enemy song, Fight the Power. Public Enemy is a militant rap group from the 1980s and their song, Fight the Power, is a song on the soundtrack of Spike Lee’s 1989 film, “Do the Right Thing”, which is a movie about racism, hatred and bigotry and the song is about another year of inequality for African Americans. What played were a few bars of the instrumental version but most African Americans know what the song is and what it means when just a note of the song is heard.
Chris Rock then starts his monologue by renaming the event as the White People’s Choice Awards…there was a roar of laughter. He goes on to say that if he did boycott, the show would have gone on without him and someone else would just take his spot, Kevin Hart. He also asked why boycott now? There were many years when no blacks were nominated back in the early 1960s but black people didn’t protest, “Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time.” He was absolutely right! The times he referred to were before the Civil Rights Era when blacks didn’t have a chance for pretty much anything and blacks knew that equality wasn’t an option on any level. Blacks, understandably, protested and times have changed for the better. Now blacks have a voice and can demand equality, hence boycotting the Oscars because fairness and inclusion were not offered. American inequality has come a long way but obviously not far enough being that there still is a reason to boycott.
He asks, “Is Hollywood racist? You damn right Hollywood’s racist, but it ain’t the racist that you’ve grown accustomed to.” He continues to joke about the disparity between white and black athletes, then he jokes about his favorite white actor, Paul Giamatti. He says that his range is from one end of the spectrum to the other and he wasn’t nominated, either. “Ben Affleck can’t do that.” So, why did Ben get nominated time and time again, when Giamatti did not. I guess he isn’t in the Hollywood sorority like Ben is, as Rock said.
To sum it all up, he says that it’s not about boycotting, it’s about having opportunities. “We want the black actors to get to get the same opportunities as white actors….and not just once.” He stated that an actor as talented as Jamie Foxx should get a shot at more parts than he gets.
Throughout the night, Chris Rock told many jokes not just about blacks, but about other ethnicities, as well. There was an array of equal opportunity jabs and there were even a few funny skits.
The 2016 Oscars Awards ended with the same song, Public Enemy’s Fight the Power, this time, with the lyrics. Listen to the song.
There were mixed reviews about Chris Rock’s performance on Facebook and Twitter. Some thought he nailed it and others thought he was offensive. What do you think?
The Business Insider reported that the ratings were next to an all- time low, “the telecast ranks as the second-lowest on record with 34.3 million viewers.”
Did the boycott achieve what it wanted to and did you boycott the 88th Academy Awards?