David Oyelowo Worries Oscars Incident Could Curb Inclusion Efforts In Hollywood
Like many who were in the room during that now-infamous tense exchange between Will Smith and Chris Rock during the 94th Annual Academy Awards, David Oyelowo is speaking out about his feelings on the incident.
Oyelowo penned an op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter examining the possible ramifications of that altercation. Amid a climate that finds many fellow actors and comedians using language like “traumatized” and “sickened” to describe their feelings on the action and calling for lawsuits and discipline levied Smith’s way, the actor worries that the obvious racial aspect of the incident will color how The Academy and Hollywood as a whole will handle diversity and inclusion efforts moving forward.
“My experiences of attending the Oscars over the past few years have been steeped in unexpected drama and a constant intersection of public opinion, politics and race,” Oyelowo wrote, noting the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of 2016 that was partially kicked off by the exclusion of the Black cast of his film Selma from all the 2015 acting categories.
Oyelowo went on to express the harsh realities of racial stereotypes that Black people in the public eye intrinsically carry on their backs – particularly those in the entertainment industry. The concept, rooted in respectability politics, suggests that what one of us does, all of us are represented by.