Chris Rock Should Address #OscarsSoWhite

by Vannessa Jackson

This year's Academy Awards nominations may go down as the most widely contested, ever. Spike Lee, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith all joined the Oscars Boycott, because the lack of diversity in the nominees, and even Reese Witherspoon put her two cents in. It seems everyone has an opinion. And while not everyone's opinion is exactly helping the conversation — I'm looking at you, Charlotte Rampling — this is a conversation that is long overdue. Considering Chris Rock, one of the most outspoken comics of this generation, is set to host the Oscars, stars like 50 Cent and Tyrese Gibson are actually calling for Rock to boycott the Oscars. What may come as a surprise is that not everyone feels that way. Marlon Wayans is the latest celebrity to voice his opinion that Rock should keep his Oscar hosting gig, and I think Rock should listen to what Wayans has to say.

The Wayans brothers have a long standing history in Hollywood and come with a rich tradition of going against the grain of popular culture, and once again, a Wayans is taking a potentially controversial stance. "There's no greater person to talk about this than Chris Rock," he told People. And he's right. Rock is the perfect person to address the industry's lack of diversity, and the way that lack has translated to the Academy's nominees, while onstage at the Oscars. After all, he has always found a way to hit on the most taboo issues with a hilarious spin. He says exactly what we're thinking, but in a more hilarious, if slightly offensive way. While Rock has been quiet about his hosting duties, he did grace us with this hilarious tweet:

Wayans continued, "Chris has a job to do. When you're contracted and obligated to do something, you have a job to do ... Rock's going to go out and he's going to address this. We're all giving him fuel and stuff to talk about."

If there is anything Rock knows how to do, it's add fuel to the fire. For years, his comedy has crossed lines of race, and I'm sure he's not planning on backing down now. If you're not familiar with Rock's comedy, let's take a moment to remember his extremely controversial SNL monologue from February 2015 in which he joked about Ebola and a national tragedy. While I'm not suggesting he go down that road again, I think it's clear that he doesn't have a problem crossing boundaries into uncomfortable territory.

His monologue at the 2005 Oscars also wasn't exactly coy.

If I know Rock, and I like to pretend I do, then this year's Oscar's will be a sight to behold. I have no doubt in my mind that Rock will address the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and that he'll call out a few people, to boot. He is not a comedian who holds back, and that's exactly what the Oscars needs at a time like this.