Nikita Richardson
February 29, 2016 10:36 am
Getty Images/Kevin Winter

Chris Rock has never tip-toed around the truth when it comes to racial disparity and he certainly wasn’t going to start when he took the stage on Hollywood’s biggest night: The Oscars.

The comedian and filmmaker managed to be both funny and engaging when he addressed this year’s near-complete lack of people of color in the top categories. From the get-go, Rock took the Academy to task.

“I’m here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards” Rock began. “You realize, if they nominated the host, I wouldn’t even get this job. Y’all would be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.”

Rock goes on to to discuss how other people told him to quit the Oscars as well as his disagreement with the Hollywood folks who decided to boycott this year’s ceremony. 

But he really got to the heart of the issue when he touched on the implicit racism that takes place within Hollywood, the kind that is rooted in cultural fit and traditional ways of doing things.

“Now the thing is, Why are we protesting? The big question: Why this Oscars? Why this Oscars, you know?

It’s the 88th Academy Awards. It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means this whole no black nominees thing has happened at least 71 other times. O.K.?

You gotta figure that it happened in the 50s, in the 60s — you know, in the 60s, one of those years Sidney didn’t put out a movie. I’m sure there were no black nominees some of those years. Say ‘62 or ‘63, and black people did not protest.

Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time, you know? We had real things to protest; you know, we’re too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer.”

“Is Hollywood racist?,” Rock asks aloud.  “You’re damn right Hollywood is racist. But it’s not the racism you know. Hollywood is sorority racist. ‘We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.'”

“We want opportunity,” he concludes. “We want the same opportunities as white actors. That’s it!”

Here’s how Twitter reacted to Chris Rock’s Oscars speech:

You can read Chris Rock’s full monologue here, and watch it below:

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