Will Smith explains Oscars boycott: “Diversity is America’s superpower – and we’ve got to be pushing that forward”

The actor shares his stance on the #OscarsSoWhite row on The Graham Norton Show

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He’s best known for putting on a show every time he sits on Graham Norton’s red sofa, but this time around Will Smith has been getting serious about the lack of diversity at the Academy Awards.

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“I am a member of the Academy and the thing that’s most important for me is that the spirit of the awards has to be maintained”, Smith told Norton, after announcing last week that he would not be attending the Oscars ceremony following the all-white actor shortlist.

Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett-Smith began the call for a boycott after tweeting, “Should people of colour refrain from participating all together?”

 

We must stand in our power!

We must stand in our power.

Posted by Jada Pinkett Smith on Monday, January 18, 2016

Smith was quick to support his wife, explaining his decision not to attend this year’s ceremony.

“The media creates the ‘us’ and ‘them’ but for me there is no ‘us’ and ‘them,’ it’s ‘we’. “I feel very strongly that there is a regression in America toward separatism and racial and religious exclusion, so for me, it’s about putting my hand up and reminding my community, the Hollywood community, that we have to lead”, he said.

“Diversity is America’s superpower – that’s what makes it great, and in Hollywood we’ve got to be pushing that forward even in a time of wider regression.

“As my grandmother said, ‘Lead with love and light and only good will come out of it.’”

I can’t keep up with the Suicide Squad

The Suicide Squad actor also revealed that while the rest of the cast of his upcoming villain epic got new tattoos during filming, he managed to dodge the group activity.

“This why 40 year-olds shouldn’t hang out with 20 year-olds. This is what happens and I knew it was wrong but they didn’t. Everybody tattooed one another. Margo Robbie wanted to do mine but I was absent that day! I do not have one”, Smith explained.

Oh, and if you’re a big fan of his music then you’d best watch this space.

“I’ve been working on something and this time I’m not lying! We’ve recorded about 25 songs and have four or five I actually like! Jeff (DJ Jazzy Jeff) and I will be back here (in the UK) this summer to do shows – real shows.”

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Watch the full interview: The Graham Norton Show, Friday 29th January at 10:35pm on BBC1