Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have been at the front of the Oscars diversity controversy since the start, becoming some of the most high profile names to boycott the awards. Smith announced his decision in an interview with Good Morning America and decided to go into more detail during this week’s episode of Graham Norton.
What is refreshing to hear from Smith is his positive take on the entire situation. Following the mud slinging between Fresh Prince actress Janet Hubert and Jada Pinkett Smith, the situation needed a bit of an injection to keep it from being some personal fight. Instead of focusing on his own awards snub or the public spat, Smith talks about the “regression” of diversity in Hollywood and how he feels the discussion has turned into an “us and them” situation:
“I’m a member of the Academy, so I felt very seriously that there’s a sort of, a kind of a regression in America in generation, a regression towards separatism and racial and religious exclusion…
“So for me, it’s more about putting my hand up and reminding the community, the Hollywood community, that we have to lead, that diversity is America’s superpower”
Smith reiterated these points in a separate interview with the BBC, noting that the controversy is not about awards for him. He claims it is a larger issue and he’s pleased with the steps the Academy has taken:
“This is far beyond me. This has nothing to do with me. This has nothing to do with awards,” Smith said. “Awards are a really frivolous reason for me to put my hand up and make a statement. For me, this is much more about the idea of diversity and inclusion.”
You can check out that BBC interview below.