Everyone is waiting to see how Chris Rock will address the #OscarsSoWhite controversy at the Academy Awards, since he's hosting. But Anthony Anderson did a pretty good job addressing it head-on as host of the NAACP Image Awards on Feb. 5.
"Look at all these beautiful shades of people in the audience. Hollywood needs to know that this is what diversity is supposed to look like," he said as the audience applauded.
Then came the jokes.
"Will and Jada are in the audience tonight," Anderson said as the camera cut to Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith sitting pretty in the front row. "Shoo, they better be, after all this ish they started," Anderson said, smiling. The Smiths chuckled it up, along with the other attendees.
"Although we have our own award show, I just want the others ones to be fair," Anderson said. "I hope they don't go overboard next year and nominate too much black stuff out of guilt.
"Things like best picture: Madea Goes Trick-or-Treating in Compton," he joked.
A few of the winners that night also addressed the industry's lack of diversity at award shows.
"Thank you, NAACP, for seeing us, for recognizing us," Tracee Ellis Ross said during her acceptance speech.
Taraji P. Henson, another winner, echoed Pinkett Smith's sentiment that African Americans shouldn't have to ask to be recognized. "Umm, we don't need to ask for acceptance from anyone. We don't. We are enough. We've been enough and always will be enough," Henson said.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.