Flashback: Eddie Murphy rips the Academy for lack of diverse nominees back in 1988
#OscarsSoWhite was resurrected for good reason this year.
There were no black nominees in the four major acting categories. Not one.
Last year, it was the same story — and the ‘OscarsSoWhite’ hashtag was born, thanks to Broadway Black Managing Editor April Reign.
Back in 1988, Eddie Murphy addressed #OscarsSoWhite on stage at the 60th Academy Awards.
The comedian was invited to present the nominees for Best Picture.
Murphy started off with some pleasantries and even a “Hi, I’m Eddie Murphy” line to get the crowd going — but then got down to business.
Murphy told the audience when his manager came to him and said the Academy had invited him to present the Best Picture award, he didn’t want to go.
“My first reaction was to say ‘No, I ain’t going,'” the comedian said.
Murphy said his manager pressed him to answer why.
And that’s when Murphy really gave some heat.
“I’m not going because they haven’t recognized black people in the motion picture industry,” Murphy explained.
His manager remained puzzled, mentioning that black people had won Oscars before.
Murphy conceded but pointed out the victories had been few (3 total since 1939) and far between (about every 20 years since 1939, a black actor had won).
Murphy continued to tell his manager he wasn’t going before ultimately agreeing to attend. Murphy relayed to the audience the rest of what he told his manager:
I just feel that we have to be recognized as a people. I just want you to know that I’m going to give this award, but black people will not ride the caboose of society, and we will not bring up the rear anymore. I want you [The Academy] to recognize us.
True to his comedic genius, Murphy then delivered the punchline. His manager told him he’d be presenting late because it was the last award of the night.
So much for not bringing up the rear anymore.