Will Smith defends Oscars boycott: 'Lead with love and light and only good will come out of it'

Smith will not be attending the ceremony on Sunday 28 February and neither will his actress wife, Jada Pinkett Smith

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The Independent Culture

Will Smith has further clarified the reasoning behind his Oscars boycott.

The Concussion actor revealed that he would be joining his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith in not attending this year’s awards ceremony after the all-white acting nominations were announced earlier this month.

The lack of diversity provoked uproar and Smith stated that the couple would be “uncomfortable to stand there and say this is okay”.

“When I look at it the nominations reflect the Academy,” he said on Good Morning America. “The Academy reflects the industry, reflects Hollywood and then the industry reflects America. 

“It reflects a series of challenges that we are having in our country at the moment, there’s a regressive slide towards separatism, towards racial and religious disharmony.”

Smith has since appeared on The Graham Norton Show to discuss his opinions in more detail.

Quoting a message his grandmother gave him to “lead with love and light and only good will come out of it”, he emphasised that “the thing that’s most important is that the spirit of the awards be maintained”.

“The media creates the ‘us’ and ‘them’ but for me there is no ‘us’ and ‘them,’ it’s ‘we’,” he said. “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.

“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.”

Will Smith was snubbed at the Oscars for his latest drama Concussion

Many film industry professionals have come out in support of those protesting the lack of diversity, from Spike Lee to Mark Ruffalo.

The Oscars takes place on Sunday 28 February, while The Graham Norton Show airs tonight at 10.35pm on BBC1.