Over the weekend, Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith announced their boycott of this year’s Academy Awards in an effort to highlight the constant absence of recognition of performances by actors, actresses and filmmakers of color. They would soon be joined by fellow actors like Tyrese, who went so far as in to publicly urge Chris Rock to drop out of hosting next month’s ceremony.
However, not everybody is aligning with Spike and Jada Pinkett’s line of thinking. Janet Hubert, known by many as the “dark-skinned Aunt Viv” –an alias Hubert discusses below–from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the 1990’s sit-com that made Will Smith a small screen star, responded to Jada Pinkett’s announcement with a video clip of her own, accusing the Set It Off actress, and her husband Will, of being selective with their support of the black Hollywood community, alleging that the couple only chose to speak up about the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations when Will, who starred in the Golden Globe-nominated Concussion, didn’t get the nomination he was expecting. Hubert referenced prior correspondence with Will–she apparently asked the Concussion actor to help her improve pay for persons of color in Hollywood–as an example that she’s been trying to get the Smiths to work on the diversity problem for quite some time, with little to no help from them.
Today, in a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Hubert continued her criticism of the Smiths, calling their recent agitation “self-contrived” due to Will missing out on an Academy Award nomination many thought he would corral. The following is an excerpt from her interview:
I’m not a pretend freedom fighter. I stand up for other actresses, other people. The Smiths just irked me because they are such pretenders, and everything is a photo op. It’s just self-contrived because her hubby didn’t get a nomination.
Hubert went on to say:
We’re all complaining about diversity in Hollywood, but we’ve got to address the colorism within the black community of Hollywood first. I’m called “dark-skinned Aunt Viv.” [Reid] is called “light-skinned Aunt Viv.” The whole ridiculousness of black Hollywood — there is no black Hollywood. It’s every man for himself. We’ve got to address that first before we can start attacking someone else’s awards that were never designed for us.
You can read the full Q&A here.