As usual Black folks are in an uproar about something that White people done. They jump on social media and start their hashtag activism. This time they are brandishing the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite over the obvious ‘Selma’ the Movie being snubbed at The Academy Awards or The Oscars. CNN reports that “there was brush-fire-level rage on and off the Internet” regarding:
“Thursday morning’s announcement of this year’s Academy Award nominations over the fact that “Selma,” the critically acclaimed drama about Martin Luther King Jr.’s epochal campaign for voting rights in the South, received only two Oscar nods, one of them for best picture. (The other was for best song: “Glory,” the Golden Globe-winning anthem co-written by Common and John Legend, which one can safely label the prohibitive early favorite its category.)”
The report also goes on to provide a number of potential reasons why the film did not received the recognition that many Blacks felt it deserved but the overarching motive being “race”. Now it does go on to explain exactly how race was a factor within the parameters of a number of theories.
The first being that the Academy only favors films where “African Americans” or Blacks is “in shameful, soul-depleting captivity” which is in contrast to the movie supposedly depicting “African Americans organized in open rebellion against their oppressors”. Another being that the film supposedly provided an inaccurate historical depiction of “Lyndon B. Johnson”.
My answer is all of the above. If you look at the history of The Academy Awards Blacks usually won an Oscar for portraying stereotypical or subservient characters. Second White people do not like to be portrayed in a negative light in films especially during watershed moments in this country’s history. You see White people have to believe that they are not that bad. Even though overt White Supremacism ran rampant throughout this country at one time White people have to feel that they are also responsible for the “positive” changes that occurred as well. If the universe does not center on them they feel hurt and their White privilege will kick in and they will not allow that to be the case.
Another major mistake not mentioned was the film’s lack of highlighting and including the so-called Jews. According to The Jewish Daily Forward a Jewish-American national newspaper Selma’ Distorts History by Airbrushing Out Jewish Contributions to Civil Rights. In light of the large “Jewish” presence in the entertainment industry and their owning a substantial portion of it not including them was not a good idea. They too are White people that feel that things revolve around them and they should be recognized as our “saviors”.
Yet at the end of the day what do we learn from all of this? We learn a valuable lesson concerning power. White people can feel privileged and behave the way they do because they have power. They have the wealth, power and influence to make things happen. If you do not show them the respect in the manner that they feel you should they can tear down all that you set out to accomplish when you are dependent on them (Personally I think the film was pro-White Supremacy but apparently White folks thought differently).
While many Blacks think that Ava DuVernay, Paul Webb, and Oprah Winfrey was running things and they had power this was not the case. You have to look at who paid for the movie and distributed the movie that is where you will find the real power behind it. According to my knowledge Pathé financed the film, alongside Plan B Entertainment, Cloud Eight Films and Harpo Productions as co-producers. Therefore the majority of the people with control or power was White. These entities got a return on their investment with all these happy Negros running out to see the movie and the dominant society still managed to show their disdain for the unflattering depictions or the outright “distorting” of historical facts when it relates to White people. So no matter how you look at it White people won and Black folks lost in more ways than one.
All of the above things would not be of any consequence or bother if Blacks would stop trying to make people accept them when it is clear they do not. We need to stop allowing White people as a whole to set the standard of what is “good” or “great”. White is not the measuring rod. We need to learn to love and celebrate Blackness. But most important of all we need to acquire our own wealth, power and influence through a strong Black economic infrastructure. Then we could create and distribute our own movies and television award shows without concern for the Oscars or any other award shows that feature White Supremacy.