Clueless

Adj. Having no knowledge, understanding, or ability.

Synonyms: oblivious, ignorant, unobservant

See also: Stacey Dash.

Some prominent Black actors are debating the need for a boycott of the Academy Awards after no Black actors or actresses were nominated for many of this year’s categories, including Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Actress. While Jada Pinkett-Smith and Janet Hubert were going back and forth about this issue, Stacey Dash decided to throw in her two cents on the debate. In a segment on Fox News, she argued not only that a boycott of the Oscar’s would be “ludicrous”, she also stated that “..we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET awards” in order to get rid of segregation. To top it off, Dash also stated that we need to get rid of Black History Month.

As many of my professors would say, let’s unpack this.

Dash believes that having awards ceremonies solely dedicated to Black artists is segregation. The fact is that ceremonies such as the Image Awards and the NAACP awards, and channels like BET, came about because Black actors and artists were not being represented and recognized in spaces that were supposed to be integrated. Black artists noticed this, and to compensate for the lack of representation and the denial of the recognition of excellence that came from Black films and Black works, they made their own.

Moving on, let’s dispel the notion that racism will magically disappear if we get rid of Black spaces or anything that specifically highlights Blackness. I repeat, getting rid of ceremonies that celebrate Black work and Black talent will not get rid of racism. To think otherwise is to be unobservant of the dynamics of the entertainment industry. The Academy is not going to suddenly work harder to nominate Black actors and actresses for awards if the Oscar’s are suddenly the only awards show we can participate in. Black artists will have to work even harder to receive any recognition and exposure, and even then there is no guarantee as to whether or not they will receive it.

Black awards shows deserve their place in media just as much as predominantly White ones. If Black excellence is not being celebrated at the Oscars, we have every right to bask in it at the Image Awards. Same with BET, the NAACP, and any other organization that wants to uplift and recognize Black artists doing great work in an industry that still presents so many obstacles to their success.

And as for Black History Month, that is staying. It is crucial for everyone to learn this history and it clearly isn’t being taught well enough in the other eleven months of the year. So for the sake of pursuing a better education, I’m just going to say a flat-out “nah” to that claim.

*sigh* Celebrities really are wild nowadays.

-Ash

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