On January 14, 2016, the Oscar nominations were announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Unfortunately and perhaps not surprising, for the second year in a row, no actors of color were nominated for any Oscar awards. Mrs. Jada Pinkest Smith, a well known actress, director, producer, singer, wife to actor Will Smith and mother to three talented children expressed her disappointment on the lack of diversity at this year’s Oscar nominations.
Many will criticize Jada Pinkett Smith by saying the cause she champions is not worthy. Because after all, its hollywood, a fairytale, make-believe, its entertainment with high monetary rewards. Also, others will argue that there are more worthy causes for Mrs. Pinkett Smith to lend her voice to. But I argue that Mrs. Pinkett Smith is living within her reality, within her chosen industry of work that has consistently failed to acknowledge people of color. Jada Pinkett Smith has been the voice for other worthy causes such as human sex trafficking. The entertainment industry just happens to be one of the causes she is voicing her concerns about. It affects her directly. In the grand scheme of things, the fact that black actors are not being nominated for awards is not the most important issue that we face. It just happens to be one of the many injustices that we as a minority group face on a daily basis. We as a minority group in whatever walk of life or career that we are in, have at some point experienced racism. The criticisms are far and wide and none of us are immune. We don’t have to look too far, but to look at how the current First Family, the Obamas are treated. Even when you get to the White House, you are not protected from harsh criticism that oftentimes is racially motivated.
As a black female, I can appreciate Mrs. Pinkett Smith’s sentiments. Our walk and professions are very different, but our experiences are very much the same. We are consistently marginalized and under represented. How often is it that we do not see ourselves in mainstream media? Our hair, curves, skin, facial features, our work and our minds are seen as less than worthy.
In my private practice, I am privileged to care for patients who are of different ethnicities, races, sexual orientation and religion. I am accepted by my patients because of the care that I provide. And I am profoundly grateful to all my patients for that. But, here I am with this little blog called SistersInHealth.com. I created SistersInHealth.com to be a platform and a bridge for women of color knowing fully that we receive medical care disproportionately when compared to other ethnic groups and races. For a moment, I grappled with the idea of not making the blog exclusive to women of color. But, after consulting friends and family, I knew that I wanted to be a voice for us. My goal was never to be exclusive of other races, because I believe we are all equal in the eyes of God. But, our world, our country is not color blind. For us, as women of color, there is no denying that our walk in this world is different. My reality is the same realty that all women of color experience. We share the same struggle. So if I can help one woman of color, I would have been successful.
Watch Jada Pinkett Smith’s video below as she expresses why she has chosen to boycott this year’s Academy Awards. Be the change that you so desire. So whether you are a maid, teacher, doctor, lawyer, engineer, accountant, college student or the First Lady of The United States, you are worthy. Your work and contribution to this world, to your family and friends cannot be measured.