Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Jada Pinkett Smith and her assessment of the Academy Awards- Canary in the mine?

Oh, Jada, honey, you have roused the lizards dozing in the sun on the Oscar board and riled up a fellow Black thespian to speak out against you. First of all, I'm glad you and Will have the paper to weather the s&&&storm that is going to swirl around you. Naw, it won't be outright, blatant blacklisting of you two. Naw, the folk in H'wood nowadays just act like you aren't there if you displease them. Meaning? Calls won't be returned. Lunch dates will be cancelled at the last minute. That project you thought was a go, will suddenly be a no-go. You'll just get igged to death. Ask the recently resurrected Mel Gibson. Just saw him on the Golden Globe Awards show. Had not seen or heard from mister man in years. Years. But hey, there he was. Joking like he hadn't pissed off more than half of those people in the room. Why? Because his exile had ended. He'd been allowed back in the fold after sufficient groveling and penance. Hollywood. The only place where you can re-virginate. Is that a word?

And the point of this post? Jada reminds me of every non-White romance/YA writer on Twitter who calls out the latent prejudice in the book publishing world. The sole difference is that they do not have Mrs. Smith money. Otherwise, all the other stuff is equal: the tone-deafness of the powers-that-be, the insincerity of said powers, the unbelievable hubris of the dolts who run and work in Big Five book publishing. The parallels are shockingly similar right down to the way the protests of the "rabble" are placated. The issuing of platitudes, the grandstanding, the vague, rambling mission statements. The unabashed bias exhibited by some known White authors.

So, whether it's H'wood or Big Five Country, if a performer/writer of color wants to be part of the club, one is expected to play the game, be grateful with whatever crumb is tossed one's way and shut the eff up. One is not to object to being closed out but is supposed to smile and sigh "Oh, next time I guess." (And the few who do have a reading audience are in no way obligated to risk anything. Let them alone. It's not about calling out anyone. It's about supporting colleagues.) So, Jada might have been stringent (personally, I thought she was eloquent) but Jada spoke TRUTH. And hard truth is sometimes hard to hear. Just wish the romance/YA world had such a champion.

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