Jada vs Stacey: The Power Struggle Off the Silver Screen

by Meagan Faison

The glitz and glam of Hollywood awards season is in full swing, and this year’s biggest awards show blew in with a sandstorm of drama. 
The issue: for the second year in a row the nominations for the Academy Awards’ top categories contained only white actors. The nominations snubbed several of this year’s top-grossing films and critically-acclaimed actors, including Will Smith for his performance in Concussion. Enter: Jada Pinkett Smith. Jada pretty much set the world on fire when she proposed that entertainers of color not attend the Oscars at all.

Several celebrities quickly jumped on Jada’s bandwagon including Spike Lee  (also snubbed for his film Chi-raq), Tyrese and hubby Will....after a few days. Jada furthered her argument on Facebook. In a video posted to her page she encouraged communities of color to stop “begging for scraps” and come into our “true power.”

Many people threw serious shade at Jada for her decision to speak out on this issue rather than some of the more important crises that minorities face. Aunt Viv from Fresh Prince of Bel Air, known in real life as Janet Hubert, was quick to jump down Jada’s throat from behind her comic-strip video filter. Quick backstory: Hubert has clearly held a grudge against Will Smith and associates after she was kicked off of the show in the 90’s. Actress and FOX news contributor Stacey Dash was also one of Jada’s more vocal critics. The actress said that she was an advocate for inclusion since we are all Americans, and even went as far as to say that we should go ahead and get rid of BET and Black History Month.
Despite being on seemingly opposite sides of the spectrum, both Jada and Stacy propose an interesting idea: 
As African Americans (any minority really),should we continue to push for the inclusion and equality that we’ve yet to fully grasp, or do we create something that is entirely our own? 

On one hand, our people have made great strides to be seen as contenders in a society that isn’t really skewed in our favor. Going into Black History Month, we’ll get our annual reminder of everything that has been done in the past century to make equality a reality. There is still so much more to be done for people of color to be taken seriously in education, entertainment and business (everything really except sports). But we’ve made it this far. It’s not an impossible goal.
On the other hand, maybe it’s time to start putting some of that same effort and energy to be included into building things for ourselves. Instead of asking for a seat at the table, create our own. There are some things that we’ve created to acknowledge the talents of our community like the BET awards and the NAACP Image Awards, but imagine creating something to rival the Academy Awards. It’s not just an idea for the entertainment world. Surely we have the talent, intelligence and the resources to make it happen.
It’s so much to consider! Which do you think is better: Inclusion or Enterprise?

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Quirky, Brown Love is a media outlet for quirky, brown millennials. EST 2014.

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