Chris Rock tackles #OscarsSoWhite controversy, gets mixed reactions

Los Angeles, Feb 29 (IANS) Actor-comedian Chris Rock made many burst into laughter with his jokes on diversity as he took the stage as the host of the 88th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre here on Sunday. But there were some who got offended by the jokes on the lack of black nominees this year.

He started the awards ceremony, which was attended by stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Charlize Theron, by saying: “Man, I counted at least 15 black people in that montage. I’m here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards.”

Rock, who hosted the prestigious awards ceremony once before in 2005, also said: “You realize if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job! You’d all be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.”

He also shared that people suggested him to boycott Oscars for not nominating black artistes. But he joked about that as well.

“No black nominees. People are like, ‘Chris you should boycott, Chris you should quit.’ I thought about quitting. I thought about it really hard. But I realized they’re gonna have the Oscars anyway. They’re not gonna cancel the Oscars because I quit. And the last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart, okay?”

He even asked: “Why are we protesting this Oscars? It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means this ‘no black nominees’ thing happened at least 71 other times.

“You got to figure that it happened in the 1950s, in the 1960s. One of those years, Sidney (Poitier) didn’t put out a movie. I’m sure there were no black nominees some of those years, say 1962 or 1963. Black people did not protest. Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time.

“We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won Best Cinematographer. When your grandmother’s swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about Best Documentary Foreign Short.”

He even took a swipe at actress Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of actor Will Smith.

“Everybody went mad (this year). Jada got mad. Jada said she’s not coming. Isn’t she on a TV show? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.”

“Is Hollywood racist,” he asked, adding: “It’s a different type of racist. The other night, I was at a fundraiser for president Obama – a lot of you were there. There were four black people there: me, Quincy Jones, Russell Simmons, Questlove. The usual suspects…

“At some point you get to take a picture with the president. I’m like, Mr. President, you see all these writers, producers and actors, they don’t hire black people – and they’re the nicest white people on Earth. Cheese… You’re damn right Hollywood is racist. Hollywood is sorority racist…”

He even said that if you want black nominees every year, you need to have black categories.

“You already do it with men and women. There’s no real reason for there to be a man and a woman category in acting. There’s no reason. It’s not track and field. You don’t have to separate them.

“We want opportunity. We want the black actors to get the same opportunities. Not just once.”

Post the opening monologue, some people took to Twitter to support or thrash him. Here’s what they tweeted:

Martial Music Tech: Yo, #ChrisRock, I’d be cool with the Asian jokes if there were a slew of Asians who won oscars. You’re kicking us while we’re down. #punchup

Corey Jackson: I can only imagine how ready everyone was to get out of there from the bashing Chris Rock just delivered. But it was funny so its ok #Oscars

Cody Punter: Chris Rock is the funniest and most relevant English speaking comedian in the world.

April Scissors: To focus our energy on who Chris Rock didn’t mention vs holding white people accountable for exclusion means white supremacy won again.

Alik: still disgusted about the amount of ppl who laughed at chris rock’s opening bit when he mentioned blacks being raped & lynched in the 60s

Toby Parker: I thought Chris Rock killed it, then I saw people with an agenda on my TL who didn’t like it. Just proves he really did kill it.

Esteban Valentino: I put money that the Academy wrote a script for Chris Rock to follow those trash jokes. If he wrote it he would’ve went all out.

Michael J. Williams: Chris Rock’s opening monologue. Nothing brave or courageous about this. Stop.

Rebekah: Unpopular opinion: I think Chris Rock’s 11 minute monologue was entirely inappropriate.

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