Chris Rock at the Oscars. After months of talk surrounding the lack of diversity in Hollywood, the moment that everyone was waiting for didn’t quite meet everyone’s expectations.
However, I was satisfied.
Chris Rock was everything I expected him to be. Last night, he tackled a very difficult topic in a way that made some laugh and others uncomfortable. He addressed the issues with a sardonic tone, making jokes that seem to have gone over the heads of many. His reference of rapes and lynches were hurtful to some, but were actually part of an effort to speak on priorities. Years ago, the lives that were at risk were more of a concern to African Americans than making a collective decision to boycott the Oscars. During a time when Flint is in the middle of a water crisis and the fight to prove that black lives matter continues, he simply questions why people have found the time to put so much focus on the Oscars this year. Maybe it’s because people have realized that there are several issues affecting the lives of black people and have decided to address them as they rise rather than focus on one at a time. While I’ve seen instances where African Americans do indeed have their priorities out of order, I don’t feel this particular example was the best, and the main thing I took issue with is this notion that we have to focus on one problem at a time.
I think it is also important to note that diversity is more than just black and white. It includes other persons of color ranging from Asians to Hispanics. Though the lack of opportunity is the issue for all, his examples very much focused on African American history, which may just be an indication of his knowledge base, but I felt something could have been thrown in on their behalf.
Aside from that, I laughed when he threw shade at Jada. Whether or not we would like to admit it, had it not been for her rant ( or some would say the Straight Outta Compton or Creed snub), this issue may have possibly been swept under the rug yet again. But the truth is her anger most likely arose because in true ride or die fashion, she was upset with her husband not being nominated. I laughed at the joke on Will getting paid for Wild Wild West because it proved to me that Chris Rock is an equal opportunist. As easily as he is able to agree with the fact that we need more opportunity, he can openly admit times in which our people have not had the best performances on the big screen. The idea of having a black category to ensure a person of color gets nominated every year was not far-fetched for as he said, it is already done with men and women. When you think about it, it would be very similar to the concept of a BET Awards, except that there is no isolation as it would be included in the same ceremony.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that Chris Rock did what any comedian would have done; he took the stage and addressed the matters in his own way. People’s expectations of his performance were based off what they wanted him to say as an African American man but they failed to take into consideration his occupation. He is not a journalist or a politician. Taking things seriously is not what he does, nor what he was hired to do. He pushes the envelope, addressing the elephant in the room, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes people feel. Just like Beyoncé addresses situations through the use of her music and performances, Chris Rock does it through his jokes. With such a controversial issue as a topic, it was not an easy task to complete. I think he handled his hosting gig pretty well, addressing the issue while staying true to himself and honoring the achievements of all those in the room who worked really hard this year.
Hate it or love it, it should all be respected.