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For his second time hosting the 2016 Oscars, Chris Rock held nothing back when it came to tackling the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that has been the focus of the 2016 awards season since the nominees were announced in January. From the second he stepped on the stage, the comedian was ready to blast the controversy and uproar over the lack of diversity in the pool of Academy Award nominees. One person he zeroed in on? Jada Pinkett Smith.
"What happened this year? People went nuts. Spike [Lee] got mad. Jada went mad. Will [Smith] went mad. Everyone went mad!" Rock said about all the celebs wanting to protest the Oscars. "Jada said she's not coming. I was like, ‘isn't she on TV show?' Jada's gonna boycott the Oscars? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties. I wasn't invited!"
After the shocked laughter died down, Rock went on to assure the crowd that he understood why Jada was so upset.
"Her man Will was not nominated for Concussion. I get it. You get mad. It's not fair that Will was this good and didn't get nominated. You're right," he said. "It's also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West!"
Chris opened his monologue with a jab at the montage that played at the beginning of the show, featuring all the movies the Academy is celebrating during the show.
"I counted at least 15 black people in that montage!" he laughed. "Well, I'm here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White Peoples Choice Awards."
Chris Rock also revealed that he did consider quitting his hosting gig after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, but then something stopped him from giving up the job.
"You realize if they nominated hosts, I wouldn't even get this job. Y'all be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now….I thought about quitting. I thought about it real hard. But I realized, they're going to have the Oscars anyway. They're not going to cancel the Oscars because I quit," Rock reasoned. "And the last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart!"
Rock was also quick to point out that a lack of diversity among nominees has always been a problem, long before this year's Oscars.
"Why this Oscars? It's the 88th Academy Awards, which means this whole 'no black nominee' has happened like 71 other times. You gotta figure it happened in the ‘50s, in the ‘60s...and black people didn't protest. You know why? Because black people had real things to protest at the time. Too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won Best Cinematographer. You know, when your grandmother is swinging from a tree, it's hard to care about Best Documentary Foreign Short."
But Rock wasn't done taking on the issue of race in modern day America; not even close.
"This year, things are going to be a little different at the Oscars," he promised. "This year in the In Memoriam package, it's just going to be black people who were shot by the cops on their way to the movies."
He also had a pretty easy solution for getting more nominations for black actors.
"If you want black people every year at the Oscars, just have black categories, like 'Best Black Friend.' And the winner for the 18th year in a row is Wanda Sykes!" Rock quipped, before finally turning serious. "What I'm trying to say is, it's not about boycotting. We want opportunity. We want the black actors to get the same opportunities as white actors. That's it! Not just once."
What did you think of Chris Rock's opening monologue and his take on #OscarsSoWhite?