"You're damn right, Hollywood is racist..."
As everyone tuned in to the 88th annual Academy Awards wondering how Chris Rock would rip into Hollywood, in light of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, the famed comedian and actor made it plainly clear the moment he took stage.
"I counted at least 15 black people in that montage" were the first words uttered upon taking the stage as the night's (February 28) host. Within the span of 15 minutes, Rock didn't rip Hollywood a new one. The skillful host did one even better by turning the mirror back around on Tinseltown to reflect its glaring reality. "It’s not about boycotting," he told the audience. "It’s just that we want opportunity. We want the Black actors to get the same opportunity as everyone else."
"We want opportunities. Not just once. All you guys get great parts all the time."
In the weeks leading up to the big show, the center of attention was glued on the Oscars' lack of diversity. While he remained quiet on the issue since the 2016 nominations were announced, Rock had fun letting his filter-free consciousness pour. He mentioned the much-talked-about controversy and even recalled almost dropping out as host.
"I thought about quitting, but I was like, the Oscars are going to happen anyway," he shared. Plus, if that wasn't enough, the comedian-and-actor's decision was also motivated by something else: "The last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart."
As far as the state of the Oscars controversy, Rock pointed out that throughout the 88 years of the award ceremony, its always been, well, the same. "It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means that this whole no black nominees thing has happened 71 other times," he said. "Black people did not protest. Black people did not protest. Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time. We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won Best Cinematographer. When your grandma is swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about Best Documentary Foreign Short.”
Rock kept the mud slinging throughout the evening's opening stand-up, and no one was safe — including Jada Pinkett Smith.
Earlier this year, the actress voiced her disappointment at the Oscar nominations and announced that she would not be attending the ceremony. This led to a flurry of reports indicating that the actress, along with several others, would be boycotting the award show. In response to this, Rock joked, "Jada got mad and said she's not coming… Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties, I wasn’t invited."
Overall, Rock unabashedly shook up the elephant in the room for a triumphant showing of the ages.
Simply put, he Rock'd it.