SPIKE LEE SENDS CLEAR MESSAGE TO 'LILLY WHITE' OSCARS

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Spike Lee at Orange Carpet premiere of Chi-Raq. Photograph by Stephen M. Joseph

In a lengthy letter posted to his social media site, director Spike Lee made his position on the absence of black nominations by this year's Academy Awards very clear: 'I will not be attending.'

The filmmaker joins actress Jada Pinkett Smith, who recently posted online videos expressing her sincere aversion of Blacks being snubbed by the Oscars for the second year in a row, in taking a stance against the Academy's lack of diversity.

Lee, in his online post, called this year's ballots 'lilly white' and blamed Hollywood's flagrant disregard of Black talent on the industry's power structure.

"As I see It, the Academy Awards is not where the 'real' battle is," the director of last year's film on gun violence in Chicago, Chi-raq, wrote. 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."

Lee's obvious call for 'change' in the overall voting structure of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences continues to gain momentum and responses from civil rights leaders around the country.

In a press release statement, Reverend K.W. Tulloss, President of the L.A. National Action Network, called on a television "tune-out" of the Oscars awards ceremony Feb. 28.

“The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences made many promises last year to promote diversity in its film awards. It kept none of them," Tulloss said along with Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson and President of Project Islamic Hope, Najee Ali.

"The proof is that despite a number of name, qualified black performers in major films, not one was nominated for an Academy award. There’s only one thing that Hollywood understands and that’s dollars and ratings. We will launch a nationwide “TV Tune Out” of the Oscars ceremony, February 28. This will send the message that diversity in the film industry must be more than a hollow promise."

Comedian Chris Rock is slated to host the Oscars next month.

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