David Oyelowo remembers the “bad” meeting after Will Smith’s slap at the Oscars

“I was faced with the same growing anxiety that all blacks feel when the face that flashes in the news after a crime is reported is black.”

The echo of the attack of the winner of the first male role Will Smith on the presenter Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars is still felt by Hollywood, especially the black stars.

Emmy nominee David Oyelowo has published a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter detailing the ripple effect of the now-famous Oscar slap. Oyelowo has been featured in a number of dramatic episodes at the Oscars, from “Selma” being rejected for Best Actor and Best Director for launching #OscarsSoWhite in 2015 to his viral reaction to “La La Land” being announced. by mistake Best Movie.

“But like most of us, nothing could have prepared me for what was to follow,” Oyelowo wrote of the 94th annual Oscars. “As a black man in public, you are constantly aware of the fact that your very existence is political. You are firmly in a situation to either use as an example to perpetuate or break a stereotype. These stereotypes are associated with crime, kindness, education, sexuality, poverty, social responsibility and more. It’s a burden I have to accept even though it is exhausting in nature. “

Oyelowo added: “The moment I slowly realized the nature of what had just happened on stage at the Dolby Theater, I was experiencing the same growing anxiety that all blacks feel when it comes to the person flashing on the news after a crime. , is a black. You find yourself thinking, “What does this mean for us?” “What does this mean for me?”

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After the Oscars, Oyelowo was confronted in an after-party with an elderly white gentleman who “liked his behavior” while saying that Smith “should have been dragged right from there”.

Oyelowo commented: “You may well agree with this feeling, but it’s not what he said, it’s way he said it. I know this pleasure. I know this behavior and it is ugly to the core in all its coded messages “.

The “Midnight Sky” actor added that the Academy has made “big profits” from #OscarsSoWhite, especially to “improve its shameful unequal racial and gender demographics”.

However, Oyelowo warned of how Smith’s controversy could affect this progress.

“It would be naive to assume that the incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock will not be pushed by some industry professionals through the lens of the race,” Oyelowo continued. “Some of them will be the same people who resisted Cheryl Boone Isaacs’s accession to the Academy and who led to a more diverse Academy.… In the wake of George Floyd’s assassination, the entertainment industry did a lot. commitments to increase the diversity of our business. Some deliberately. Some rituals. “My fear is that this unfortunate incident, which has put us all to work, will have a negative impact on the ongoing push for membership.”

He added, “There are those who, in an effort to ensure that this kind of thing never happens again, will work through an unconscious – or conscious – prejudice. A bias that still pervades so much of Hollywood decision-making. It would be tragic if an attempt to prevent such an incident from happening again became an excuse for ideas of integration and diversity to decline. This would confirm from the outset the dishonesty of some of these commitments. “This incident should not be a springboard for dissent in Hollywood circles about race, dignity and belonging.”

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Oyelowo concluded that while the “unfair” attack on Rock and the overshadowing of Oscar night as a whole “can not be overstated”, there must be a recognition of the other half of this debate.

“Let’s not forget that there is a mood that is evidenced by the man who approached me at that after party,” Oyelowo concluded. “His weak gossip and the half smile on his face are indicative of what should not be allowed to penetrate the aftermath of this incident. “We need to be vigilant against making decisions that would adversely affect profits like The Academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs and all those who fight for a more diversified, inclusive and fair industry and entertainment world.”

Read the full text here.

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