The Academy Awards were streaming on the Internet and on TV last Sunday evening, a program I watch yearly with interest and anticipation. Over the last several years, in my opinion, the Academy Awards had moved away from the movies and into the realm of who is wearing what designer dress or suit, the fabulous jewelry designers who drape gold, silver, diamonds and rubies around the necks of stars and starlets drawing the focus to neck length, cleavage and pearl white or ebony collar bones. There have even been fingernails on display along with the 360 degree mirrors grandstanding movie stars put on pedestals by the media and fans at large. But, this year, something shifted.
Gowns were beautiful as usual but, simpler. Jewelry adorned but, more hidden. Suits pressed and creaseless, focused on the actors themselves rather than, “who are you wearing?” The focus on people, stars in their own right, sometimes their families, subdued and calm, excited still. The controversy of an all white nomination list being played out in anticipation in peoples minds, conversations and quiet demonstrations. Or loud depending on your perspective. I think Chris Rock brought to light the issue splendidly, combining truth and humor to lead individuals to at least consider the issue in a new light. And then there was the appearance of Joe Biden and the performance by Lady Gaga.
At the end of the award ceremony, the full impact of the way in which this act was played out came to light. The way in which injustice was revealed in both subtle and dynamic ways, ways you could not ignore. Prejudice was acknowledged not only by Chris Rock, but also the Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs to do better in the future by being inclusive of all cultures and races of people. Leonardo DiCaprio addressed the impact of global warming on our planet and to Indigenous Peoples. Lady Gaga and Joe Biden, challenged our perspectives on rape for men and women. Sam Smith dedicated his Oscar to the LGBT community. The movie, “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, brought to light honor killing through the character of an 18 year old Pakistani girl. And finally, the Catholic Church was exposed and held accountable for the crimes priests committed against children, and won the award for Best Picture. Spotlight, what a fitting title. I am sure I have missed a few other injustices highlighted at the Academy Awards but, I breathe a sigh of relief that many individuals on this planet are no longer covering their eyes, ears and mouth about injustice and the consequences. Or are they?
That is the constant question I grapple with, especially being born a Libra under the sign of Justice. Justice is very close to my heart and not in a vengeful way. Rather, from the perspective of courage and speaking out with kindness and compassion. Education on matters, believing that there is always another perspective, story, outlook, belief system. When we see an injustice, I grapple with the human condition to turn away or refuse to get caught up in the excitement and chaos of wrongdoing or choose to do nothing at all. Do we need to put ourselves in harms way? Most definitly not. Do we need to resort to violence? Again, no. But, we do have a voice, a helping hand and eyes that are not blind. (Except for those who do have an impairment of speech or vision.) We used to think that those who spoke up for justice were trouble makers. Now, the story is being rewritten, viewed with fresh eyes, and souls that recognize what is not right. We are loosing our fear by standing steadfast in our truth. Little by little, step by step we will get there and change our world for future generations. We will honor our neighbors, our friends and famlies, our communities, our earth. And it all begins with you and with me, acknowledging that we are not perfect and prone to learning lessons along the way. Choose to rise up and try again. Resilience is a virtue to be treasured.
As an end note, my apologies if I have written information that is incorrect regarding the Academy Awards, my intent was from a place of love and respect for those who have experienced injustice. And again this is only my personal view on the matter. Disagreeing and at times agreeing to diasagree, always opens the door to new perspectives and ways of looking at the world, the issues we face every day.