- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Jada Pinkett Smith said she is “absolutely” standing by her decision to boycott this year’s Oscars ceremony, citing Idris Elba’s nomination snub for “Beasts of No Nation.”

The actress, whose husband Will Smith failed to secure an Oscar nomination for “Concussion,” spoke with TMZ Wednesday after meeting with the mayor of Flint, Michigan, to discuss the city’s lead water crisis. Asked for her thoughts on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ initiative to include more diverse members, Ms. Smith said it’s a step in the right direction.

“Of course, I think that’s necessary,” she told TMZ, “but I’m hoping the Academy understands that it’s not just about having more black voters in order to give the connotation that black people vote black. But we all need to, as human beings, get to know each other. Expand our education about everyone.

“Some of the things that I heard was, like, ‘Beasts of No Nation’ was too difficult of a movie to watch. Maybe, but partly the reason that we have art is so that we can come out of our comfort zones and get to know about different cultures, different realities. And I must admit, Idris’s performance in that movie was fantastic,” she continued.

“If we’re going to have awards shows, it’s not watching movies based on preference, necessarily, especially if we claim that it’s about merit. But we need to watch movies because, if we’re having awards shows, we have to make sure that we are committed to being inclusive to everything,” Ms. Smith said.

Asked if she and her husband are still boycotting the ceremony, she responded: “Absolutely. I’m not going to the Oscars this year, but I believe that anybody who wants to, should.”

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