*Music and business mogul Russell Simmons has written the following scathing critique of the entertainment industry’s disconnect from its audience:
I watched the Oscars this year and it felt, well, familiar. Sure, familiar can be comforting, but familiar can also just be downright boring. Now don’t get me wrong; I have deep respect for Hollywood and all its players. I know that they are, for the most part, well-intentioned, sweet, progressive, liberally minded storytellers who have grand aspirations for the world. The problem is that while they believe in the concept of an all-inclusive, post-racial America, they don’t trust in it enough to bank on it. And now, they’re paying for it.
Each year as the Oscar hype grows, so does the usual anticipation of tuning into something that will truly blow our minds. This year that excitement was heightened for me personally when I got the news that my “son,” Brett Ratner, was slated to produce and was bringing in Eddie Murphy to host. I knew that I had raised my boy right (on a steady diet of directing rap videos when he was still in film school) and that he was going to give the Oscars the long-awaited face-lift it needed “” a face that was young again, culturally relevant, reflective of the times and the audience it aims to serve. I couldn’t wait to see it.
But as we all know, that scenario wasn’t meant to be. Then word came out they had hired Brian Grazer, an old friend of mine who had enough faith in my vision back in the day to make me a partner and producer of the highly successful Nutty Professor, during a time when you just didn’t see black men in charge. Later I was surprised to find out that I was the first black producer on a big-budget Hollywood film who wasn’t talent. I assumed that having Brian take over the reins meant that the spirit of diversity would survive. Brian is wildly talented and knows diversity. However, when Eddie followed Brett out the door and I heard Billy Crystal was back, it seemed that the Oscars may just be back to the same old same old…. For the Entire story go to EURweb