SMITH TAKES A STAND: Celebrities and figures including filmmaker Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith have been vocal about their decision to boycott the Oscars over lack of diversity in the awards nominee lineup.

Pinkett Smith took to social media to address her concerns and posted a message: “At the Oscars…people of color are always welcomed to give out awards…even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating all together? People can only treat us in the way in which we allow.”

In addition, the actress posted a video on her Facebook fan page. “Have we now come to a new time and place where we recognize that we can no longer beg for the love, acknowledgement or respect of any group,” said Pinkett Smith in the video. “That maybe it’s time that we recognize that if we love, acknowledge and respect ourselves in the way in which we are asking others to do, that that is the place of true power.”

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs issued a statement on the topic. “While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion,” said Boone Isaacs. “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. Recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.”

The Academy president added that the organization “implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly.”

“This isn’t unprecedented for the Academy,” Boone Isaacs said. “In the Sixties and Seventies it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real conners of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out in our effort to move forward together.”

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