POLITICS
01/22/2016 01:06 pm ET Updated Jan 09, 2017

Congressional Black Caucus Members Back Boycott Because Oscars So White

The lawmakers join with a slew of celebrities.

Two Congressional Black Caucus members are now openly supporting those who are boycotting February's Academy Awards ceremony over the lack of diversity among nominees. Even caucus members who won't say they back the boycott are still criticizing the Oscars.

Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) told The Hill on Friday that he supports the boycott -- though he's not a "big movie buff."

"I think they are reflective of the African-American community," he said of those rebuffing the event.

Rep. Greg Meeks (D-N.Y.) told The Huffington Post that he, too, supports the boycotters.

"The lack of diversity in the Academy Awards, from the selection committee to the nominees honored, is extremely concerning," Meeks said. "This is not a new problem but one that has persisted for many years. Efforts to correct this pervasive issue within the Academy Awards are long overdue and since no tangible actions have been taken, a boycott seems like the appropriate course of action."

For the second year in a row, no black actors are up for awards in the four major acting categories. That news reignited the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, which was used last year to voice outrage at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Davis and Meeks join a list of prominent politicians and entertainers who have spoken out about the Oscars' missing diversity.

Will Smith is joining his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, in the boycott because he said, "We're uncomfortable to stand there and say it's OK." Spike Lee fumed on ABC's "Good Morning America" this week that the lack of black nominees was an example of systemic failures plaguing Hollywood. Even GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump said that "it would certainly be nice if everyone could be represented."

Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), also with the Congressional Black Caucus, told HuffPost that the Academy Awards is not alone in its failure.

"Unfortunately, this is another example of the lack of diversity that still exists in many industries," Payne said. "We need to eliminate the racial inequities that betray our values as a nation and block progress in our communities."

Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), also with the caucus, told The Hill that she was "extremely disappointed in the lack of diversity -- year after year -- in the Academy's selections," although she isn't joining the effort to shun the Oscars.

The Huffington Post reached out to other caucus members who have not yet weighed in on the boycott.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said he had not planned to attend the Oscars prior to the boycott and those plans had not changed after seeing the nominations.

Reps. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) declined to comment. This piece will be updated when others respond.

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