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Jada Pinkett Smith, Spike Lee boycott Oscars

Last Updated Jan 18, 2016 10:55 PM EST

Two big-name celebrities have come forward to lead an #OscarsSoWhite boycott.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee have announced that they will not attend the Oscars this year after the Academy snubbed actors of colors in its nominations.

Smith, whose husband, Will Smith, did not receive a nomination for his critically acclaimed role in "Concussion," posted on Facebook that she will not "allow" people of color to be ignored anymore.

"At the Oscars...people of color are always welcomed to give out awards...even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments," she wrote. "Should people of color refrain from participating all together? People can only treat us in the way in which we allow."

Then she posted a video of herself talking to fans, explaining why she won't be attending the Oscars.

"Today is Martin Luther King's birthday and I can't help but ask the question: Is it time for people of color recognize how much power and influence that we have amassed that we no longer have to be asked to be invited anywhere?" she asked.

Smith reminded people of color that they are "dignified" and "powerful," and called on them to make change by putting resources into their own communities.

"Let's let the Academy do them, with all grace and love, and let's do us differently," said Smith.

Smith continued, addressing host Chris Rock, "Hey Chris, I will not be at the Academy Awards and I won't be watching, but I can't think of a better man to do the job at hand than you, my friend."

We must stand in our power.

Posted by Jada Pinkett Smith on Monday, January 18, 2016

Spike Lee also wrote on Instagram that he will be skipping out on the Academy Awards, though he thanked the Academy for giving him an honorary Oscar.

"I Am Most Appreciative," he wrote in a caption that accompanied a photo of Martin Luther King, Jr. "However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White?"

He continued, and recalled the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., on his birthday.

"40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All," he wrote. "We Can't Act?! WTF!! It's No Coincidence I'm Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday. Dr. King Said 'There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It's Right.'"

Lee said, though, that the Academy Awards is "not where the 'real' battle is." Lee said it's important for the gate keepers and executives of TV shows and movie studios to green light more productions with actors of color, and to hire people of color for executive roles, so they can help diversify what's shown on screen.

Lee's comment was reminiscent of the infamous conversation between filmmaker Effie Brown and Matt Damon, when Damon argued that it is more important to cast diverse actors than diverse producers or directors.

#OscarsSoWhite... Again. I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let's Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can't Act?! WTF!! It's No Coincidence I'm Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday. Dr. King Said "There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It's Right". For Too Many Years When The Oscars Nominations Are Revealed, My Office Phone Rings Off The Hook With The Media Asking Me My Opinion About The Lack Of African-Americans And This Year Was No Different. For Once, (Maybe) I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed It Then I Stand Mistaken. As I See It, The Academy Awards Is Not Where The "Real" Battle Is. It's In The Executive Office Of The Hollywood Studios And TV And Cable Networks. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To "Turnaround" Or Scrap Heap. This Is What's Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With "The Green Light" Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, "I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS". People, The Truth Is We Ain't In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White. (Cont'd)

A photo posted by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on


On Monday evening, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs released a statement in regards to diversity. She wrote, in the statement posted to the Academy Twitter account, that the Academy will be taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of its membership.

"We recognize the very real concerns of our community," she wrote.

The full statement can be seen below:

  • Andrea Park On Twitter»

    Andrea is an entertainment producer at CBSNews.com