*Music icon Quincy Jones was asked to present an Academy Award alongside Common and Pharrell Williams at the Oscar ceremony next month, but he said on Wednesday that he’ll participate only if he can speak at the ceremony about the lack of diversity in Hollywood and among the nominees.
Jones joins a growing list of celebrities who are speaking out about the diversity controversy, and he vows to speak next week with Academy members about the problem.
“When I’m back [in L.A.], I’m going to ask [them] to let me speak for five minutes on the lack of diversity. If not, I’m not going to [present],” said Jones at the National Association of Television Program Executives conference in Miami.
“There are two ways to do it. You can boycott or you can fix it. It’s frightening to see 90 percent white and 80 percent white male. It’s ridiculous. It’s wrong,” he added.
As previously reported, Spike Lee said he and his wife can’t be bothered attending the ceremony this year, while Jada Pinkett-Smith confirmed in a Facebook video that she won’t even watch the Oscars this year, and most have concluded that she’s only b*tchin’ because her husband Will Smith wasn’t nominated for “Concussion.”
Tyrese, George Clooney, Lupita Nyong’o and Gillian Anderson have also voiced their disappointment over no black talent being nominated.
“Spike [Lee] pulled out, Jada [Pinkett Smith] pulled out,” Jones said in response to a question from an audience member, during a conversation with Norman Lear moderated by Netflix chief Ted Sarandos. “I’ve been involved in the Academy longer than I care to remember,” Jones continued. “I was the first black board member, the first black conductor — I hate ‘first black’ because that means ‘only.’ I want the young African-American kids to know that the door is open.”
The 2016 Academy Awards will air live on ABC February 28.