‘The Real’ Supports Joaquin Phoenix’s Call for Diversity at BAFTAs

Joaquin Phoenix is, indeed, “invited to the barbecue.”

While accepting the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role on Sunday, the “Joker” actor used his time on-stage to address the lack of diversity in the nominations.

Despite acclaimed performances from stars such as Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name”) and Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”), not a single actor of color was nominated for a major acting award.

“The BAFTAS have already been very supportive of my career and I’m deeply appreciative. But I have to say I also feel conflicted, because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have that same privilege,” Phoenix told the crowd. “I think that we send a very clear message to people of color that you’re not welcome here. I think that’s the message that we’re sending to people that have contributed so much to our medium and our industry and in ways that we benefit from.”

He continued, “This is not a self-righteous condemnation, because I’m ashamed to say that I’m part of the problem. I have not done everything in my power to ensure that the sets I work on are inclusive. But I think it’s more than just having sets that are multicultural. I think that we have to really do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism… I think that it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to be the ones that dismantle it, so that’s on us.”

On Tuesday’s live episode of “The Real,” hosts Amanda Seales, Loni Love, Adrienne Houghton, Tamera Mowry-Housley and Jeannie Mai applauded Phoenix’s profound words.

“It was powerful,” Love remarked. “He went in so bad he forgot his BAFTA. He walked off and [I] was like, “You left your BAFTA!’”

Though it appeared some members of the audience looked “uncomfortable,” Houghton noted that these awkward feelings are necessary to incite change.

“For the first time, just watching it back, we were looking at the people in the room. And they were, like, uncomfortable. And it’s actually that they were uncomfortable. I think that was the point of this speech,” Adrienne noted. “You gotta shake it up. You gotta feel uncomfortable to recognize change has to happen.”

Seales elaborated on this point, adding, “You know what happens when you’re uncomfortable? You adjust… So a lot of times people don’t want to be made to be uncomfortable, but it really does enforce a shift. So I think it was great.”

Houghton also mentioned that viewers can champion diversity just by watching television shows — such as “The Real” — that promote it.

“Even what you watch, your ratings are counted as a vote, technically,” the actress/singer exclaimed. “If you give viewership to certain television shows, like ours here showing diversity, it shows networks that this is what we want to see. We want to see diversity on our television.”

Despite the disappointing nominations, talent such as Awkwafina, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and winner Micheal Ward were honored in the EE Rising Star Award category.


More In Real Talk

Real Talk Wednesday, March 03

Woman Crush Wednesday: Women In Politics

Today, we're shining a light on some of our favorite women in politics to show how much we appreciate them working so hard to make this country better and our future brighter! This is Woman Crush Wednesday: Women In Politics edition!

Real Talk Wednesday, March 03

Indianapolis Principal Goes Viral for Cutting Student's Hair

Instead of punishing a student for not taking off his hat, Principal Jason Smith opted to cut the young man’s hair after learning he was upset about a haircut he received. We talk to Principal Smith about his decision to choose compassion over punishment and the effects of childhood trauma most Black and brown boys face in the education system.

Real Talk Wednesday, March 03

No Love for Lady Gaga's Dog Walker?

A cash reward of $500,000 for Lady Gaga’s stolen dogs dominated headlines everywhere, but her dog walker being shot as a result of the crime was seemingly not as important. So it has us wondering, are we losing compassion for humans?

Real Talk Wednesday, March 03

Taylor Swift's Got Bad Blood with Netflix; Woman Uses Her Underwear as a Mask!

Taylor Swift is over it! The singer called out Netflix for their “sexist joke” referencing her past relationships in their new film “Ginny & Georgia.” We open up about the double standard women who date freely face. Plus, could a thong be the perfect face covering? One woman thought so and used hers as one after she forgot her mask at home.