Flint, #OscarsSoWhite & Staying Woke In These Streets!

Flint, Michigan a small town right outside of Detroit is going through a crisis. This crisis sadly has been happing since 2014 and due to the Michigan government has just gotten worse and worse. Let me break it down for ya. So Flint and Michigan in a whole has been going through a water crisis for a while. Detroit has been dealing with this for so long and it’s all due to money. People in Detroit have been having their water turned off due to not paying their bills. Now I know what you’re thinking but people where not just forgetting to pay their water bills. For most people paying their bills is they pay one bill or the other depending how much money they have. Because jobs people jobs but that’s another story.

Last summer I was fortune to visit Detroit and learn a little about this crisis and protest it with the youth food justice group Rooted In Community. One story I heard was when one lady woke up one morning and saw the water company outside her house. She ran outside to tell the guy not to turn her water off and then watched him go down the line to her neighbor’s house and turn theirs off. She said that some of her neighbors where elderly, reserving fasting for Ramadan at the time and just needed water for everyday needs. Now something you also need to know is that in Detroit they think that it is ok to make water a commodity. Meaning that basically the government and companies like Nestle making money off their water by bottling it.

In 2014 the governor of Flint Rick Snider decided to switch the water system from the Detroit to the Flint River which is polluted. The residents of Flint started to use the water and found it to be polluted and cause heavy illness. Their water came out brown and green and it was just discussing. I heard an interview with Michael More who said that Flint is made up of half black people and 41% of the residents living below the poverty line.

Of course while I was in Detroit I learned about the Flint crisis and it is just coming to a head in the mainstream media like most issues that happen for a long time and due to the lack of attention in the mainstream most people know nothing about.

Now that this water crisis is coming to the mainstream I think that this could turn into a civil rights suit. Making citizens of a city drink, bath with, wash dishes and cook with contaminated water is an infringement of their rights. Intentionally making people sick just to make a profit off these people is ridiculous. Having clean, uncontaminated water is a human right and for the powers that be to not make sure the people of your city have that means you could be sued. Plus I’m sure that the hospital bills of the citizens who drank or bathed in this water and caught desises was very high so the government should have to pay for that. I’m sure the government will send FEMA in to “clean up” this mess and give the citizens like $500 towards their hospital bills or something crazy like that.

I will say that I am glad that being an AmeriCorps Alum that they have gone in to help. Its great to see them helping as I got to help in Joplin after the Tornado so I know how much impact AmeriCorps can have in helping. Over all this is a crazy thing that should of never happened due to lazy, money hungry government officials who don’t care about the people affected.

Now on another note something that doesn’t really matter at all is the Academy Awards or Oscars. You might have herd black celebs takin about the Oscars not nominating any black actors for the second year in a row. In 2015 we only a few movies with black casts but they were all very good for the most part. Dope (which I still wanna see), Straight Out of Compton (which was more than just a music or hiphop bio pic but an American story), Creed (which I hear good things about), Chirack (although not good), Concusion (also I hear was not too good) and the one with Iras Elba.

So in light of this many people have been posting on social media with the #OscarsSoWhite wanting more representation in the mainstream media. One of those is Jada Picket Smith who posted a video on her Facebook page taking about how people off color need to basically remember our worth and take our resources to our own community. She says she will not be watching or attending the Oscars this year. Spike Lee and other celebs have decided to also not watch or attend in a protest and urge this year’s host Chris Rock to not host.

In response to Jada’s video the original Aunt Viv from the Fresh Prince decided to post a response video putting her on blast. Janet Hubert says some super real things about Jada, the Oscars and why she was basically cut from the show over 20 years ago. She goes on to say that Jada is only making a big deal about all this Oscar business because Will was not nominated for his role in Concussion. Hubert also says that Jada and Will are too quick to care when it has to do with Hollywood but that there are more pressing real issues. After going off on Jada she starts to tell us why she ended up off the show. Hubert says that back in the day she came to Will to ask him about supporting her and the other cast members in getting a raise. Will basically was like I got mine so too bad for you and Hubert was cut.

Other people who have talked about the Oscars are Lupita who won in 2014 for 12 Years A Slave saying she is sad at the lack of inclusion. Woppie Goldberg also spoke about it on the View saying there is little support for small movie companies that might be more diverse as it is so she doesn’t care about the stupid Oscars. Snoop Dogg also commenting staying that of course he wouldn’t watch the Oscars as no black people were nominated.

Ok here is how I feel about this whole crazy thing. I’ll admit I like award shows & countdowns I have never really taken them to hard too much but I like to hear people’s options on things. So at one point or another (we had an Oscar watch part in 2011 when I was in AmeriCorps) I watched the Oscars. I’ll admit I had my wakeup call (all though I never really took the Oscars to heart anyway) in 2013 when Beast of the Southern Wild’s lead young actor Quvanjane Wallace was nominated but didn’t win. I was so mad that year as I had stayed up all night having to work the next day and her not winning. Beast of the Southern Wild I thought was an amazing movie.

Anyway I do agree with Jada about going where we are recognized and as much as I hate to admit it I will always like Will, Jada and their kids (I have a soft spot for them they are my childhood) although I might not always agree with them. Now I agree with Jada but I agree with Janet Hubert too and am not mad at her for throwing shade at Jada and Will because she is spitting facts.

Do I agree with all these celebs boycotting the Oscars? Sure Do I really care about the Oscars? Not really. Why are again these celebs caring about the Oscars when a. they don’t want us around b. who cares what they think of us c. there are a lot more pressing issues going on in these streets. Black lives matter, climate change, frankin food, the Flint water crisis which I stated above and more pressing issues going on. Hollywood is not that important and we don’t need their validation. Will I be watching the Oscars this year? Most likely not but I don’t think I would anyway because I didn’t really watch most of the movies up for nomanations.

Well before I go I just wanted to say let’s stay woke up in these streets. Honestly people there is so much going on in the world but that’s why staying woke is super important. It can be hard and you might want to fall into all the craziness but stay strong.

Till Next Time Stay Woke!



Jada Pinkett Smith, Spike Lee Boycott The Oscars

Janet Hubert Responds to Jada Pinkett Smith’s Boycott of the Oscars


AmeriCorps In Flint

Flint Video P. 1

Flint Video P. 2


Leave a Reply