As seen on tv: My two biggest problems with this February’s award ceremonies

By Noah Koch

Before I begin my rant I should clarify that I really don’t care about the Oscars or the Grammys as awards. Some of my favorite films and musicians have never, and will never, be nominated, and I am completely okay with that. What makes these ceremonies important is their reflection of popular culture, which can be problematic. While I could go on endlessly about what I would change at these award ceremonies, I do have a word limit. With that in mind, I’ve chosen to focus on the two things that I found most necessary to address at this February’s award ceremonies. Blackface at the Oscars Since Hollywood is known for originality, every Academy Awards opens with a video of its host(s) running through scenes from this year’s nominated films. In his Midnight in Paris bit, host Billy Crystal met Justin Bieber and Sammy Davis Jr. in a cafe. While Bieber was played by himself, Davis was represented by Crystal, who got more into character by painting his skin brown. I like to consider myself hip with the times, and last I checked blackface is not okay. In fact, I think I safely could argue that it’s one of the least okay things to ever be introduced to the stage. While this wasn’t explicit minstrelsy per se, the cultural implications were still there. Blackface in any form pays tribute to performances that are responsible for stereotyped representations of Blackness still present in popular culture today. These representations can even be seen in so-called “progressive” texts like Oscar nominated The Help, to which the Midnight in Paris scene tastefully transitioned. Chris Brown at the Grammys Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think that there is a statute of limitations on holding a grudge on someone for beating their girlfriend. This is especially true for music’s resident scumbag, Chris Brown, who was not only nominated and allowed to perform, but also won Best R&B Album of the year for “F.A.M.E.” Most of the arguments that I’ve heard in Brown’s defense are that his actions are probably common in the music community, and he was just unlucky to get caught, but this doesn’t make sense to me because HE GOT CAUGHT. He is the popular music’s poster boy for domestic violence. By giving Chris Brown a Grammy, the American music industry implied that they were okay with what he did. How his win has been received upsets me even more. While most of the people I know were equally as enraged as I was, we can’t ignore how many people applauded Brown’s performance. Nor can we overlook one woman’s comment, and the many others like it, that proclaimed, “I’d let Chris Brown beat me up anytime ;).” refresh –>