Now, this is a story all about how Jada Pinkett Smith’s call for an Oscar boycott flipped-turned upside down.
Janet Hubert, who played the original aunt Viv on “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” posted a video on YouTube slamming Pinkett Smith’s own video deliberating over whether to boycott this year’s Oscars after the Academy nominated only white actors for the second year in a row. Spike Lee also announced on Monday that he would not be attending the Oscar ceremony.
“Does your man not have a mouth of his own with which to speak?” Hubert said in the video, referring to her onetime costar Will Smith, who was snubbed for a lead actor nomination for his role in “Concussion.”
“I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living and has made millions and millions of dollars from the very people that you’re talking about boycotting just because you didn’t get a nomination, just because you didn’t win?” Hubert said in the four-minute video. “That’s not the way life works, baby.”
Hubert also implied that there are bigger battles to fight in the world, where “people are dying. Our boys are being shot left and right. People are starving. People are trying to pay bills.”
She also noted that it’s unfair of Pinkett Smith to encourage other black actors to jeopardize their careers by skipping Hollywood’s biggest night.
“You ain’t Barack and Michelle Obama. And y’all need to get over yourselves,” she added. “You have a huge production company that you only produce your friends and family and yourself. So you are a part of Hollywood, you are part of the system that is unfair to other actors. So get real.”
Hubert was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid after playing the Banks family matriarch on the hit NBC sitcom from 1990 to 1993. She also recalled a story in which Smith refused to band together with his “Fresh Prince” costars to negotiate a collective raise — a la “Friends” — allegedly saying: “‘My deal is my deal, and y’alls deal is y’alls deal.'”
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs released a rare statement Monday night addressing the controversy over Oscar’s lack of diversity.
“I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees,” she wrote. “While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.”