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Lee Daniels On #OscarsSoWhite: ‘Let Your Legacy Speak and Stop Complaining’

Lee Daniels (Rolling Out/Facebook)

Director Lee Daniels has had enough of actors who continue to speak out about #OscarsSoWhite, the hashtag that first emerged ahead of the 2015 Oscars and came up again the following year. His advice to Black Hollywood? Stop complaining and “do the work.”

During the 57-year-old’s interview with The New York Times Wednesday, Dec. 28, Daniels became aggravated by the mention of the controversy regarding the overwhelmingly white Academy Award nominees during the past two years.

“Go out and do the work,” he said. “Oscars so white! So what? Do your work. Let your legacy speak and stop complaining, man. Are we really in this for the awards?”

“If I had thought that way, that the world was against me, I wouldn’t be here now,” he continued. “These whiny people that think we’re owed something are incomprehensible and reprehensible to me. I don’t expect acknowledgment or acceptance from white America. I’m going to be me.”

Daniel’s words are similar to the sentiments of other Black leaders. In a February 2016 guest column for Variety, film and TV producer Marvin Peart questioned why African-American actors “long and clamor for seats at a dinner party where the host must be forced to invite us.” Instead, he proposed Black filmmakers should create a Black film studio and ditch efforts to gain acceptance from white Hollywood.

With that in mind, community organizer DJ Jordan executive produced the first Black Power Awards in November and told Atlanta Black Star in an exclusive interview that the event was meant to allow Black entertainers to relax and embrace African culture.

“If they don’t recognize us, that’s fine because that’s not what those institutions were initially set up to do anyway,” he told ABS. “Why do we always have to try to kick in somebody else’s door when we’re clearly not wanted?”

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