Oscars 2016: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's 'Aunt Viv' criticises Jada Pinkett Smith over boycott

Janet Hubert said Jada and husband Will Smith are not 'Barack and Michelle Obama'
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The Independent Online

The actress Janet Hubert has criticised Jada Pinkett Smith for boycotting the Academy Awards over the lack of diversity in the 2016 nominations, saying she and Will Smith need to “get over themselves”.

Hubert is best known for playing ‘Aunt Viv’ in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which catapulted co-star and Pinkett Smith’s husband Smith to fame.

After deliberating on Twitter over the weekend, Pinkett Smith announced in a video message on Monday that she will not be attending or watching this year’s ceremony. 

We must stand in our power.

Posted by Jada Pinkett Smith on Monday, 18 January 2016


“Begging for acknowledgement or even asking diminishes dignity and diminishes power and we are dignified people and we are powerful and let’s not forget it. Let the Academy do them and let’s do us differently,” the 44-year-old said.

Smith, Idris Elba, Michael B. Jordon and cast members of the box office success Straight Outta Compton were overlooked in the nominations list which was announced on Thursday. 

Soon after they were announced, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite began trending on Twitter because all of the nominees were white for a second year in a row. 

However Hubert, 60, ridiculed Pinkett Smith for presenting the lack of diversity at the Academy Awards as an important issue when there is “a lot of sh** going on in the world”.

James Avery, Will Smith and Janet Hubert in 1990

Addressing Pinkett Smith directly by calling her “Miss Thing” in a video posted to her Facebook page, she said: “Some of us got bigger s*** to worry about than the Oscars.”

The Smiths.

Posted by Blacktress Janet Hubert on Monday, 18 January 2016

She criticised the actress for calling on other actors to make a stand against the Academy, claiming it is unfair to ask people to “jeopardise their careers”. Hubert claimed it was ironic for Pinkett Smith and her husband to ask of this when they are “part of the system”.

“I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living and made millions and millions of dollars from the very people you’re talking about boycotting just because you didn’t get a nomination. That is not the way life works baby.

“You have a huge production company… you are a part of Hollywood, you are a part of the system that is unfair to other actors so get real.”

Hubert appeared to sidestep Pinkett Smith several times by instead referring to her husband, asking: “Does your man not have a mouth of his own with which to speak?”, before saying: “You ain’t Barack and Michelle Obama and y’all need to get over yourselves.”

Bringing up their time working together on the Fresh Prince in the 1990s, she alleged she asked Smith for support in getting a higher fee for some of the actors and he didn’t co-operate, before continuing to criticise his current film roles.

“Karma must be a b**ch because now here you are, you’ve had a few flops and you know there are those out there who really deserve a nod and Idris Elba was one of them… you are not, maybe you didn’t deserve a nomination.”

This is not the first time Hubert has publicly criticised Smith. In 2013 she claimed Smith was responsible for her 1993 exit from the show and subsequent replacement by another actress, she told Omg! Insider.

The Independent has approached a representative for Pinkett Smith and Smith for comment.