Chris Rock held nothing back at the 88th Academy awards, making diversity the center of the conversation.
On Feb. 28, the night of the awards, Rock opened the show with a clear intent to attack the academy. His ten- minute monologue, though funny, seemed poignant and necessary. With heated controversy surrounding the show, it appears Rock knew the perfect dose of reality to throw back the academy.
During his show opener, Rock said, “Hollywood is a different type of racist.” He went on to explain that in order to have more black nominees, the academy needs to insert more black categories, such as Best Black Friend. The obvious joke, though harsh, certainly garnered the attention of audience.
When the nominees were announced back in Jan., critics felt a touch of déjà vu when they realized there was a clear lack of diversity in the list similar to the year prior. The black omission sparked a conversation of whether or not the academy was looking at talent or skin color.
Following the announcement of the list, Rock was immediately bombarded with requests to step down as host of the show amid various pledges to boycott the prestigious evening by stars like Will and Jada Pickett Smith. After a refusal to step down by Rock, whispers of whether he would use his platform for good or bad quickly started swirling.
It remains unclear just how uncomfortable the audience might have felt during the host’s lengthy sermon, but Rock was far from done at poking fun at the academy. The diversity jokes went on all night and every time made the audience clap a little bit harder.
At one point, he introduced Michael B. Jordan, who starred in “Creed,” to the stage to present as an actor who “should’ve been nominated.” He then later greeted a return from commercial break with “Hello, we’re black.”
The question of whether the host was taking things too far was never asked because, quite honestly, nobody cared if he was.
Rock was merely giving a voice to the thoughts many have been having since the release of the nominee list.
Sadly, the Oscars have been discriminating for years against not only black talent, but talent produced from all minorities, including women.
In Hollywood, the only group of people who appear unscathed are white men.
In fact, just last year not one of the best picture nominees starred a female as the lead. That has since changed this year, but still no black nominees in 20 categories.
The question of whether black actors will be represented at the award show has never been a question of “if,” but a question of “when.”
Hopefully, with celebrities like Rock, who are using their platform for good, that “when” will be sooner rather than later.