It’s difficult to dominate the Oscar monologue, especially amidst a stuffy bunch waiting with baited breath to hear their win . . . or loss. Plus, the event has been marred by the very obvious absence of black actors from the main acting categories, and while many suggested that a boycott might be the best bet, Chris Rock delivered a funny, on-point monologue instead. According to Rock, an actress like Jada Pinkett Smith “boycotting the Oscars is like [him] boycotting Rihanna’s panties. [He] wasn’t invited!” Rock addressed things more frankly when he said that although Hollywood isn’t “cross-burning” racist, they are “sorority racist. We like you Rhonda — but you’re not a Kappa.’” He pointed out this observation when he met President Obama at a Hollywood fundraiser and said that the room is filled with “the nicest people on earth” and “they don’t hire black people.” His only misstep involved a joke about how these types of exclusions have existed for years, but back then black people had “real things to protest,” and therefore were not concerned. Twitter predictably erupted at the idea that black people have real things to protest now, such as police brutality. Rock’s point was obviously that the anger is misplaced on a stupid golden statue rather than real issues at hand, which is further evidenced by his joke that the “In Memoriam segment would feature a montage of black people shot by cops on their way to the movies.” So pipe down type-happy trolls. Clearly the man knows what’s going on.
It’s refreshing to see someone like Chris Rock use humor to shine a light on heavy issues and offer an interesting, on-point take we might not have thought of. In fact, I have a feeling we’ll be using the term “sorority racist” for a long time in the future. We all live our lives in a members-only club, whether we know it or not. We surround ourselves with what’s familiar, and as a result, we eliminate talented people from our pool. Until we are aware and consciously correct for this, we won’t change. And if anyone can make us aware, it’s Chris Rock.