Rock makes a bang at the Oscars


Photo credit: Dongyoung Won

Many of you probably tuned in Feb. 28 to the 88th Academy Awards, commonly known as the Oscars. The show was hosted by stand-up comedian and black rights activist Chris Rock, who had no problem speaking out about the race controversy in this year’s nominations.

Rock made multiple comments, beginning in his introductory monologue, about the overwhelming majority of white figures in Hollywood compared to the black talent portrayed. He referred to the title of the show as the “White People’s Choice Awards” within the first five minutes, which set the stage for his intentions throughout the remainder of the show.

Of course Rock’s performance is considered to be incredibly controversial – some people are pretty pissed off about how much attention he spent on the Black Lives Matter issue because some people don’t care about this issue or even think it should be an issue. However, if you care at least a little about the fair treatment of humankind, then this issue probably matters a little to you. I know it does for me.

That’s why I’m not pissed off at all about Rock’s choices in hosting the Oscars. He’s always been known to speak on his views toward race, equality and opportunity. If you got offered the chance to talk and reach out to the public on national television on a night as big as the Oscars, then you would also probably see the opportunity to get the word out about things you’ve been wanting to say to people.

While Rock’s multiple comments about his views toward racism in Hollywood made the audience and viewers uncomfortable at times, I still don’t think it was an inappropriate level of discomfort. I think it was the type of discomfort that people in the audience needed to feel to truly understand and grasp Rock’s point that black actors are under-represented in today’s Hollywood culture.

I admire and applaud Rock for standing up in front of millions of people at the Oscars and shedding light on an issue that matters – an issue that people are afraid to talk about and to face. Rock chose a night where all eyes would be on him to address an issue that he was passionate about.

I think if anyone like Rock has the type of influence and access to fame that he does, then they should be using it to advocate positive changes in society. Go Chris Rock for successfully making an impact on culture that needs changing.

Emma Vidak-Benjamin can be reached at [email protected] or @gnarlyemma on Twitter.