An Open Letter to Billy Crystal host of 84th Annual Academy Awards from a Black Woman in Beverly Hills
After all the glamours, glitter, red carpet, fancy clothes, jewelry, make up and the Oscar Awards comes a reality check. Does Billy Crystal crossed the lines at the 84th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony?
Please read what we received from one of our readers about the 84th Annual Academy Awards telecast. Feel free to leave your comments about stereotype or discrimination on African Americans who have contributed so much to enrich our society.
The Academy needs to become more Diverse and that is why we exist and created our company Diversity News Publications publisher of Diversity News Magazine. Once again in case you forgot remember the definition of “Diversity” which reads: “The beauties of nature come in all colors. The strengths of humankind come in many forms. Every human being is wonderfully unique. All of us contribute in different ways. When we learn to honor the difference, and appreciate the mix. We find harmony.”
An Open Letter to Billy CrystalMonday, February 27, 2012Dear Mr. Crystal,Let me first begin by congratulating you on a successful 37 year career span in the entertainment industry. I feel comfortable assuming that during that time, you’ve faced some challenges as well as obvious success. Nonetheless, you’ve managed to figure “it” out and for that, kudos.I believe it’s safe to say that most Americans have heard about the racist slur you made after the commercial break in regards to best supporting Oscar winner Octavia Spenser’s emotional and moving acceptance speech while hosting the 2012 Academy Awards on Sunday, February 26, 2012.In case you are unclear as to the remark I am referring to, you said:“That moment for Octavia is what the Oscars is all about. That was pretty amazing… and I loved that movie a lot when I saw it. When I came out of The Help, I wanted to hug the first black woman that I saw, which from Beverly Hills is about a 45 minute drive…”That comment left me staring at my television screen in disbelief until one of my very close friends – recording artist, author and reality show personality, Norwood Young called after hearing the same disrespectful, tasteless remark and was equally as outraged by the irresponsibility of you, the writers and producers of the Academy.It was during that telephone conversation that we decided that we COULD NOT and WOULD NOT allow this matter to be “swept under the rug” and go unnoticed.Norwood also had this to say: “In the opening of the Oscar telecast, Billy Crystal did a full “blackface” type parody of his famous Sammy Davis Jr. impersonation. Initially, I did not take offense because Eddie Murphy is indeed famous for doing the same in some of his past films, (when he dons full prosthetics to become his famous white Jewish character). However, Billy Crystal in 20 years has never presented his “Sammy” character as a “supposed black man” until the Oscars 2012. After hearing the “Beverly Hills” statement made, there was an immediate shift in my attitude and overview of the presentation, and its initial intent. Ironically, the Internet is buzzing more about the despising of the “blackface” than the “Beverly Hills” reference -both are unacceptable!A New York Times writer made a valid point in his printed article today in regards to your blatant, disrespectful statement. He said that “Crystals’ statement would have been possibly humorous and true in 1939; the year black actress Hattie McDaniels won her best supporting actress Oscar. However, today it has no relevancy or humor at all.” This is evidence of the racist and irresponsible mind set of many.Very recently, on February 5th 2012, Roland Martin, an African American CNN/TV-One analyst and journalist, commented on an underwear advertisement featuring the English Association Footballer – David Beckham (on his personal Twitter Account) stating “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!” GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) responded very negatively and demanded an apology from Martin. Not only did he apologize, but he was also suspended by CNN! Mr. Young knows Mr. Martin personally, and knows that he is emphatically not homophobic; however feels he was obviously wrong in making the assumption that he could make such a statement in jest on his personal Twitter account without consequence.That being said, on behalf of every African American man and woman on this planet, whether they live in Compton, Inglewood, Long Beach, Palos Verdes, Beverly Hills or Timbuktu, we believe that a public apology from yourself and the Oscar Academy at the very least is appropriate!By the way, both Norwood and I ARE black – Norwood lives in Beverly Hills and though not immediate, we are neighbors. So, in addition to your comment being ridiculous at the expense of a laugh (that didn’t happen), it simply was unjustifiable and not true! You should be ashamed of yourself for giving 1 billion viewers the impression that black people don’t live in Beverly Hills and that we are indeed segregated, with no sight of “us” within 45 minutes! If this was not your intention, so be it, however now that you have been made aware of a vast consensus of the anger and pain you have caused, I would expect you to make your wrong right.It is a disgrace that on this rare historical occasion, (African American nominees in both Best Actress and Best Supporting actress categories) has been marred and associated with controversy and disrespect.Felicia Burton & Norwood YoungFelicia Burton, President
TheBurtonInternationalGrouphome of B.I.G Entertainment
Photo credit to: The Help Facebook
Video courtesy of The Burton International Group
Editor’s Note: We want to thank Felicia Burton & Norwood Young from The Burton International Group for reaching to us about Mr. Crystal remarks. We hope The Academy take action and in consideration your concerns.