Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oh, Jada

It’s the Oscars this weekend and Jada Pinkett Smith won’t be there. She’s boycotting them, remember?

Oh, Jada.  I understand what you’re saying, but at the same time, I don’t understand what you’re saying.

You see Jada, award shows are silly. There, I said it. And to bitch about them, regardless of the well intentioned political reason, is even sillier. And boycotting them? Yeah, umm…I’m all for that…but not in the rebellious politician-esque way that you seem to be going about it. My version of a boycott involves sweatpants, a pina colada, a good book and a non-publicized commitment to avoid television on award show night. Easy peasy.  

Now, don’t get me wrong. Being appreciated for a job well done is…well…nice. And your quest for equality is admirable. But saying anything remotely serious or political instantly loses its value in the ridiculousity that is an awards show event. I mean, think about it. An awards show put together to congratulate people who work a few months out of the year on a movie? The anticipation of the red carpet, the Neil Lane jewelry on loan, the signature Christian Louboutin heels – all to see which of the beautiful people of Hollywood will get to take home a statue of a little gold naked man? Are you understanding just how trivial this all is to your plight, Jada?

The thing is this- like the woman you spoke of in your brilliant motherhood interview last month, I have found balance in my life.  Like you, I am a working mom. I work months at a time on any given project. My co-workers and I slog through the night into the next day. And when one project ends, another begins. My co-workers are very diverse-Black, White, Hispanic, Indian, Asian. And when we do our job well, if we’re lucky, we all get an email from our boss saying thank you. That’s it. When our projects end, we don’t take a month’s hiatus and chill in St. Bart’s with our friends and family. 

When we are overworked, stressed out and exhausted, we don’t take a break at some glorious rehab retreat. And we certainly do not show up in gowns and tuxedos to accept awards, much less bitch about why the Indian dude didn’t get a nomination for his contribution to our project.
You see Jada, we live in the real world. We toil away with people who are overworked and underpaid, who might be overlooked for their race or socioeconomic status. Some of us deserve rewards, bonuses or perks, and some of us don’t. But we press on because we all know that life is not always going to be fair. We don’t boycott our company for giving a bonus to people who we don’t think deserve it. Because as you said in your interview, “It’s all relative.  It’s very difficult to look at something and say, ‘That’s right.  That’s wrong.’ Because you don’t know.”  

While it may not be as glamorous as your career, my job empowers me to know the difference between bitching about something minor and standing up for something significant. And I think that we both know that no one actually gives a rat’s ass about who gets to bring home the naked man statue. No one actually can relate to the “hard work” of actors pretending to be someone else for a few months out of the year. The reality is that the only one who remembers the award is the person who holds it. Everyone else moves on and tries to find their satisfaction with the role they play in their own lives. Most people don’t need a statue (or even a nomination to obtain a statue) to measure their worth. You see, finding true happiness in what you do without needing the recognition for it…well…that’s the real prize.

So, my sweet Jada, my unsolicited advice to you is to keep being relatable, because that beautiful interview, along with the setting you chose, was important. When you make a strong statement such as the one you gave in your interview, bask in it. Don’t say anything else because, as you’ve seen, your beautiful words were forgotten and replaced with something completely irrelevant. You see, you have a platform. So, I beg of you to use it wisely. And I, in turn, promise that, although I may be in my sweatpants, I will be attentively listening to every single word.

*This piece was published on BLUNTmoms on February 28, 2016.