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Anthony Anderson addressed #OscarsSoWhite early on at the 47th annual NAACP Image Awards show Friday night.
The awards show host and Black-ish star, who took home the best actor in a comedy series award for his leading role on the ABC show, dedicated a portion of his opening monologue to addressing the recent Oscars controversy, which resulted from the absence of black acting nominees for the second consecutive year.
Anderson first took the stage alongside four fellow singers, each dressed up as members of N.W.A (Anderson as Ice Cube), and performed a rap that touched on the controversy in its lyrics, which was followed by his opening monologue.
“Look at all of these beautiful shades of people in the audience,” he began. “Hollywood needs to know that this is what diversity is supposed to look like.”
“A lot of stuff is going on this year. Barack’s last year in office,” he said of the president’s last year in the Oval Office, adding that he “loves” Obama and wishes he had another four years in office.
He then proceeded to continue addressing #OscarsSoWhite, saying, “I love seeing all these faces; black people working. Everybody keeps saying it’s a comeback. But hell, don’t call it a comeback. We’ve been here for years.”
Upon noticing Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith in the audience — who sparked the Oscars boycott — Anderson called out the couple about their attendance at the Image Awards: “They better be here after all this ish they started!”
Anderson then poked a jab at former BET star Stacey Dash, who he jokingly called to the stage as the first awards presenter of the evening. “Everybody give a round of applause for Stacey Dash! What the hell is she doing here?” he quipped. “Doesn’t she know that the Fox network is using her? She’s just an Ann Coulter dipped in butterscotch. That’s all she is. Baby, don’t let them use you! Come back to the black people,” he said, followed by a reference to the C-list movies she has been in. “I promise I will see them!”
He then addressed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and future nominations, saying, “Although we have our own awards show, I just want the other ones to be fair. I just hope they don’t go overboard next year and nominate too much black stuff out of guilt.” He then joked about fake “black” titles and comedian Kevin Hart: “We all know the Oscars aren’t bigger than Kevin Hart; they’re just taller.”
Anderson closed his open with a heartfelt shoutout to minorities: “This is about us. This is our show and it’s not a comeback. We have been here and we aren’t going anywhere.”
The host’s #OscarsSoWhite topic came as no surprise to audiences: Anderson told The Hollywood Reporter prior to the show’s airing that he would address the “elephant in the room,” but wouldn’t dwell on it throughout the program. “We’re not going to harp on it, because I believe everybody who’s going to win an award that night is going to touch upon it. For us to harp on it throughout the show would be like beating a dead horse,” he said. “But it will be addressed in my monologue at the top of the show — nothing heavy, nothing too serious, other than to talk about the elephant in the room and keep the show moving.”
The 47th annual multicultural awards show was held at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on Feb. 5.
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