Russell Simmons has a solution to the mostly all-white Academy Awards.
The entrepreneur announced Thursday the All Def Movie Awards as a “celebration of the uncelebrated” slate of black films, addressing what he describes as a “stunning lack of diversity” in entertainment.
“The All Def Movie Awards are not the Black Oscars, but they could be,” he said.
The award ceremony will be held days before the Oscars at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres on Feb. 24 in Los Angeles and hosted by Tony Rock, the younger brother of comedian Chris Rock, who will host the 88th annual Academy Awards on Feb. 28.
Films nominated in the Best Picture category include critically praised dramas “Straight Outta Compton,” “Beasts of No Nation,” “Concussion,” “Creed” and Sundance darling “Dope” and Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq.”
The films were snubbed by the Academy, except for screenwriting nods for “Compton’s” white scribes and a Best Supporting Actor nod for “Creed’s” Sylvester Stallone. The lack of inclusion of people of color on the ballot ignited a firestorm of comment and revived the #OscarsSoWhite campaign after a second consecutive year of a nearly all-white roster of nominees.
“I don’t expect a 90-year-old Academy member to see ‘Straight Outta Compton’ or vote for it,” Simmons said, who serves as founder and chairman of All Def Digital. “I’m more concerned that in 2016 there continues to be a stunning lack of diversity in the studios, in the green light process, in the decisions of what films and television series get made, and what actors get chosen.”
“This needs to be addressed institutionally,” he said, adding, “This will be a fun, entertaining and hopefully thought provoking celebration of the uncelebrated.”
Other awards will honor Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director as well as Best Bad Muh F**ka, and offbeat categories such as Best Helpful White Person and Best Black Survivor in a Movie.
Members of the public can vote on Best Picture and Most Quoted Movie categories online at http://bit.ly/AllDefMA through midnight on Feb. 23.