For Janet Hubert the momentum hasn’t stopped since her Facebook post on Jada Pinkett Smith’s boycott of the Oscars went viral. She spoke with L.A. Times reporter, Tre’vell Anderson on what prompted her and the conversation extended to colorism in Black Hollywood and what she referred to as “a system of bad behavior being rewarded,” calling out RHOA star, Nene Leakes in particular.
The interview is rather lengthy but compelling to say the least. I agree with Ms. Hubert’s perspective for the most part; however, do disagree on her assertion that the Smiths have not given back to the community.
Jada has produced a documentary and testified before Congress in effort to stop human trafficking and she and Will both have charities that support underprivileged youth.
Her timing was definitely off this time around though.
Here are a few highlights but I encourage you to read the article in full.
So you’re not saying diversity in Hollywood isn’t an issue?
We’re all complaining about diversity in Hollywood, but we’ve got to address the colorism within the black community of Hollywood first. I’m called “dark-skinned Aunt Viv.” [Reid] is called “light-skinned Aunt Viv.” The whole ridiculousness of black Hollywood — there is no black Hollywood. It’s every man for himself. We’ve got to address that first before we can start attacking someone else’s awards that were never designed for us.
The Oscars were never designed for us. There are actors who have never gotten an Oscar and have done amazing work. If you are waiting for an award of a little … gold statue and that’s supposed to validate you, then you’re not in this business for the right reasons. We do the work. It’s about the work. It’s about taking the pages of a script and bringing them to life. It ain’t that deep. We get paid a lot of money to do very little work.
People are dying. I have Sallie Mae bills up the … to pay. When people come see what we do, we offer them a little escape. That’s all we provide. But you can’t start believing your own press kit. And if you weren’t going to stand up 25 years ago ….
They forget and start living in that big house with all that money and all that adoration. And we put these people on the pedestal, so the public has to take some blame. You created the monsters who are smiling in your face. How dare you ask other actors to jeopardize their positions. Take it from me … [I was] blacklisted. Blacklisted, truly. I couldn’t feed my child. They left me penniless, homeless and worthless. But what I always had was my dignity and I always will.
People have said you’re bitter for bringing up “old stuff.” How do you respond?
Every day of my life, I’ve had to deal with “old stuff.” Every time I try to move forward, somebody brings up “Fresh Prince.” Every time I walk into a room or make a phone call, somebody brings up “Fresh Prince.” I brought that story up simply to say, “You didn’t stand up 25 or whatever years ago to get more money for your cast” — and I asked him as a fellow actor, not as the person who owned the show. I had no idea. I brought it up to say that if you don’t stand up all the time, you can’t pick and choose when you decide to stand up.
If you Google me, you’ll see I’ve worked with the [National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s] Black Women’s Roundtable from school to school, community center to community center, church to church. I’ve always been a warrior.
I have dealt with the ramifications of [rumors about being difficult on the “Fresh Prince” set] and I’m tired. You’re asking my fellow actors to step out and put their lives in jeopardy, and hang themselves the way you hung me. No, bro. I’m not going to let you do that. Especially when you put your woman out there to do it.
What then do you have to say regarding the broader issue of diversity in Hollywood, as it pertains to award shows?
Why do people need awards? Don’t you know your value and your worth? I don’t need anybody’s award or acceptance. We have a bigger problem. There needs to be huge changes in the system, but it’s not our system. Let’s make our own system. But I don’t want to hear those two. When you don’t stand up for the people who helped you get your start and now you’re asking people to stand up with you, it’s ironic to me. And it’s suspect.
If I understand correctly, you’re saying diversity is an issue, but black Hollywood has its own problems?
I think the black community has a lot to work on internally with what they deem successful. Did you know NeNe Leakes made it on Broadway before Janet Hubert? Something’s wrong with the whole system of bad behavior being rewarded. I think in the black community, ratchet has became the new black, ghetto has become the new black.
Tags: Janet Hubert, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Oscar Black-out, Oscar So White, Nene Leakes
Photo credit Facebook, Janet Hubert