The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has decided not to join the boycott of the 2016 Oscars, called because the Academy has again submitted all-white slate of nominees. The NAACP said that instead of boycotting, it would “work with the Academy” to improve diversity in the film industry. Guess it took the announcement of a boycott by someone else for the NAACP to decide that diversity in film needed improving.
Ron Hasson, president of the NAACP’s Hollywood and Beverly Hills, branch told reporters that “[w]e met about three weeks ago to discuss diversity issues, and we are in the process of setting up another meeting to continue our discussions.”
The NAACP’s meeting came after Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs (who is black, by the way) issued a statement on January 10 saying the organization recognized its errors and intended to correct them:
I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees. While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.
Boone’s statement was not made until after the boycott was announced.
For some reason the NAACP feels that being part of the boycott would prevent it from meeting with the Academy. But the planned boycott and black-out of the Academy awards will go on as planned. Rev. Al Sharpton’s organization, National Action Network, has protests scheduled in a number of cities around the nation.
Maybe it’s old-fashioned to think in terms of solidarity among civil rights groups on issues of racial discrimination. It may even be old-fashioned to think of solidarity among blacks in general. Maybe that time has simply passed us by.
Still, the precedent set by this decision will dictate how the NAAC reacts in the future to any broad-based exclusion of blacks by other institutions. The organization may have just “met” its way out of using boycotts as a response to discriminatory action.
I hope there’s some method to the NAACP’s madness on this issue, but only time will tell. Meanwhile, I for one will not be watching– even though the Academy brought Chris Rock on to host the show. In the final analysis, our dollars are really all we have. And after what I’ve seen for two years in a row now, I need to see the improvement before I buy into the talk.
Colored people solidarity– woo hoo!!