Oscar winners address racism and police brutality

(Tyler Perry in Oscar Interview Room)

During the 93rd annual Academy Awards, Oscar presenters and winners discussed racism, pleading with audiences to unite against hate crimes and police brutality.

In her opening monologue actress/director Regina King acknowledged her feelings surrounding the Derek Chauvin murder trial.

 “I have to be honest: If things had gone differently this past week in Minneapolis, I might have traded in my heels for marching boots,” she said. “I know many of you want to reach for your remote when you feel Hollywood is preaching to you, but as the mother of a Black son who fears for his safety, no fame or fortune changes that.”

In Tyler Perry’s acceptance speech for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, he said: “I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican or because they are black or white or LGBTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they are a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian. I would hope that we would refuse hate and I want to take this Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and dedicate it to anyone who wants to stand in the middle, no matter what’s around the wall. 

“Stand in the middle ’cause that’s where healing happens. That’s where conversation happens. That’s where change happens. It happens in the middle.”

Mia Neal received the Oscar for Makeup and Hairstyling in the film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, with Sergio Lopez-Rivera and Jamika Wilson.

“I want to say thank you to our ancestors who put the work in, were denied but never gave up. I also stand here as Jamika and I break this glass ceiling with so much excitement for the future.”

Neal continued: “I can picture Black trans women standing up here and Asian sisters and our Latino sisters and indigenous women. And I know that one day it won’t be unusual or groundbreaking; it will just be normal.”

Director Travon Free won Best Live Action film short along with co-director Martin Desmond Roe, for their drama, Two Distant Strangers, which focuses on the tragic deaths of black Americans during encounters with police.  

“Today the police will kill three people. And tomorrow, the police will kill three people and the day after that, the police will kill three people– because on average, the police in America every day kill three people,” Free said. “Which amounts to about 1,000 people a year.And those people happen to disproportionately be Black people. “

Quoting James Baldwin, he added:  ‘the most despicable thing a person can be is indifferent to other people’s pain.’ And so I just ask that you please not be indifferent. Please, don’t be indifferent to our pain.”

Susan L. Hornik is an active contributor to Los Angeles Times, Grammy.comShondaland.com, InStyle, SFGate, LA Weekly, Irvine Weekly, MensHealth.comAARP.org, Los Angeles Blade, Washington Blade, Industrym.com.com, Videoage, Alo, Discover Hollywood