This year’s Academy Award nominations marked the return of the #OscarsSoWhite social media hashtag after, like last year, no Black actors or actresses were recognized with nominations by the academy. While social media called out the absence of recognition for performances like Will Smith in Concussion, Jason Mitchell in Straight Outta Compton or Michael B. Jordan in Creed–Sylvester Stallone was nominated for his role in the boxing thriller–Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee took the opportunity to express their feelings on a much deeper issue in Hollywood.

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We must stand in our power!We must stand in our power.

Posted by Jada Pinkett Smith on Monday, January 18, 2016

Lee’s comments were direct, as the Chi-raq director took to Instagram with a lengthy post, including “Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can’t act? WTF?!,” while Pinkett Smith posted a video to her Facebook account, offering support to host Chris Rock, but announcing that she too would not be attending the ceremony. “Today is Martin Luther King’s birthday, and I can’t help but ask the question: Is it time that people of color recognize how much power, influence, that we have amassed, that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere?”


Lee was given an honorary Oscar this past November, while Smith’s husband, Will Smith, was passed over for a Concussion nomination, despite being nominated for a Golden Globe earlier this month.