Mama Banks is still reeling! Janet Hubert is slamming her former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air costar Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, once more. The actress — who called out Pinkett Smith for boycotting the Oscars in a Facebook video earlier this week — spoke out again about the controversy in an interview published Wednesday, January 20.
“I’m a real freedom fighter. I’m not a pretend freedom fighter. I stand up for other actresses, other people. The Smiths just irked me because they are such pretenders, and everything is a photo op. It’s just self-contrived because her hubby didn’t get a nomination,” Hubert, 60, told the Los Angeles Times.
“The whole ridiculousness of black Hollywood — there is no black Hollywood,” she continued. “It’s every man for himself. We’ve got to address that first before we can start attacking someone else’s awards that were never designed for us.”
As previously reported, Pinkett Smith, 44, announced she would not be in attendance at the star-studded event after nominations were revealed January 14. For the second year in a row, only white actors snagged nominations in the major categories. (Smith, 47, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for his work in Concussion, announced on Thursday that he plans to boycott the festivities too.) In response to Pinkett Smith’s boycott, Hubert posted a video stating that there are worse things in the world to worry about. She shared the same sentiment with the L.A. Times.
“We are not brain surgeons. We are not curing cancer. We are not finding the next cure for Alzheimer’s. We are simply and merely entertainment. We take on and wear the masks of characters. That’s what we’re paid to do. Someone like Will Smith has not come up through the ranks like most actors, so for him to be complaining the most is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen,” Hubert said on Tuesday.
“The Oscars were never designed for us. There are actors who have never gotten an Oscar and have done amazing work,” she added. “If you are waiting for an award of a little … gold statue and that’s supposed to validate you, then you’re not in this business for the right reasons. We do the work. It’s about the work. It’s about taking the pages of a script and bringing them to life. It ain’t that deep. We get paid a lot of money to do very little work.”
Hubert also rehashed her feelings about Smith’s acting skills in Concussion. She previously noted in her video that his performance wasn’t worthy of an Oscar nod.
“If you’re going to take on a role with a dialect, you have got to understand the phonetics of what you’re doing. Maybe they just didn’t think it was good enough. Get over it. You got a Golden Globe nomination. You should be happy,” she told the L.A. Times. “As actors, we know that every job you get could be your last and you’re only as good as the last job you did. You don’t ask people to step out on a limb to hang themselves. That’s what I felt like he was doing. That’s why I put the video out.”
Hubert has appeared to be at odds with the Suicide Squad star since she starred as Aunt Vivian on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air from 1990 to 1993. At the time, she asked Smith to negotiate more money for the cast, to no avail. (Hubert was replaced halfway through the series.)
“I brought [that up in the video] to say that if you don’t stand up all the time, you can’t pick and choose when you decide to stand up,” she explained. “You’re asking my fellow actors to step out and put their lives in jeopardy, and hang themselves the way you hung me. No, bro. I’m not going to let you do that. Especially when you put your woman out there to do it.”
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