‘Fresh Prince’ Original Aunt Viv Chides Jada + Will Smith For Oscars Boycott
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Jada Pinkett Smith’s call to boycott this year’s Academy Awards — which nominated exclusively white actors in lead and supporting roles for the second year in a row — has become a rallying cry for proponents of diversity. But one woman from the Smith family’s past is taking issue with the plea.
Janet Hubert, who played the aunt of Pinkett Smith’s husband, Will Smith, on Fresh Prince of Bel Air, posted a video yesterday (January 18) bashing the actress for biting the hand that feeds her, and for being too narrowly focused on her own family’s affairs (Will Smith was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role as Nigerian-born physician Dr. Bennet Omalu in Concussion, but an Oscar nod didn’t follow).
“First of all, Miss Thing: Does your man not have a mouth of his own?” she begins in the video above. “Girlfriend, there’s a lot of s— going on in the world that you all don’t seem to recognize. People are dying, our boys are being shot left and right, people are hungry…[the Oscars] just ain’t that deep.”
Hubert also accuses Pinkett Smith and her husband — who has not announced that he’ll be boycotting the ceremony as well — of being hypocrites, and profiting off a business with which they’re suddenly taking issue.
“I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living and made millions and millions of dollars from the very people that you’re talking about boycotting just because you didn’t get a nomination? Just because you didn’t win? That is not the way life works,” she insists.
Finally, she urges Will and Jada to consider that a nomination may have simply not been deserved for Will this time around. The actor was previously nominated in 2001 for Ali and in 2006 for The Pursuit of Happyness.
“Maybe [Will] didn’t deserve a nomination. I didn’t think, frankly, you deserved a Golden Globe nomination with that accent…y’all need to get over yourselves,” she notes. “You are a part of the system that is unfair.”
Pinkett Smith’s push for protest came in a Facebook video she posted yesterday in which she encouraged actors of color to focus on rebuilding the community, and not moving to seek approval from white executives.
“Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power,” she says in the video above. “So let’s let the Academy do them, with all grace and love. And let’s do us, differently.”
On January 14, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs acknowledged to Deadline that this year’s Oscars ballot is slanted, but asked movie audiences not to punish those who delivered performances that were nominated.
“Of course I am disappointed, but this is not to take away the greatness (of the films nominated),” she said, and conceded that the Academy must move to honor more actors of color. “We have got to speed it up.”
Director Spike Lee has also announced he’ll be skipping this year’s Oscars, writing, “we cannot support it.”
What do you make of the Smith/Hubert showdown? Sound off, and tell us if you’ll be watching The Oscars this year.
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