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Chris Rock is not giving up his gig hosting the Oscars. Instead, he’s going to flip up the entire show to highlight #OscarsSoWhite.
A number of Black artists are choosing to skip the 2016 Oscars in protest of the Academy Awards lack of diversity among the field nominees. There are so few people of color up for awards that the ceremony has been dubbed with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite again this year.
Still, it’s interesting that Chris is the host (and thus the public face) of what may be the Whitest Oscars in years. Anyone else seeing the irony here? Some have called on Chris to back out of the hosting gig as a show of solidarity. He’s seeing this position as a chance to address the issue in a different way.
“Chris is hard at work. He and his writing staff locked themselves in a room,” Academy Awards Producer Reginald Hudlin told ET. “As things got a little provocative and exciting, he said, ‘I’m throwing out the show I wrote and writing a new show.’”
Hudlin continued,” Chris is that thorough. He’s that brilliant, and I have 1,000 percent confidence that he will deliver something that people will be talking about for weeks.”
While a boycott is a silent form of protest, Chris being present in the moment to confront the lack of diversity also sends a strong message that cannot be ignored. It gives Black artists another way to make their voices heard and extend the conversation beyond the 2016 Oscars.
Hudlin doesn’t believe that Chris will be heavy-handed in his approach, but he is going to use humor to convey the message–as evidence by one of his recent tweets.
“You should expect [#OscarsSoWhite joke],” said Hudlin, adding that the Academy is ready for anything Chris might throw at them. “The Academy is ready for him to do that. They’re excited about him doing that. They know that’s what we need. They know that’s what the public wants.”
Chris is definitely well-versed making people think with his comedy, so anyone that still plans on watching The Oscars this year will have to see what he hits the audience with on February 28.