Marlon Wayans weighed in on the growing controversy surrounding the Oscars for the lack of diversity among nominees, saying that while he understands the outrage, he does not think Chris Rock should abandon his hosting gig.
“Chris has a job to do,” he told PEOPLE. “When you’re contracted and obligated to do something, you have a job to do. I don’t put that stress on that man. Rock’s going to go out and he’s going to address this. We’re all giving him fuel and stuff to talk about.”
“There’s no greater person to talk about this than Chris Rock,” he added.
Wayans, who stars in and cowrote the new comedy Fifty Shades of Black, said that while his opinion on Rock’s hosting obligation may differ from his friend Tyrese Gibson’s – who called for Rock to step down – they both agree that something needs to be done.
“Tyrese called me up with that and I immediately I’m like, ‘Let’s go riot!’ ” Wayans, 43, joked. ” ‘I want to throw a chair through the Oscars window! Let’s go steal some Oscars!’ ”
But while Wayans said it’s easy to point the finger at the Academy for the lack of diversity, it can’t shoulder the full blame.
“There needs to be more diversity within the Oscars,” said Wayans. “I can’t blame the Academy so much as I can blame … everybody holds some accountability. It’s the Academy, it’s the gatekeepers in Hollywood.”
Wayans said that minorities in the entertainment industry work at a disadvantage, but stressed that the disparity should motivate the industry to take action, rather than serve as a deterrent.
“We don’t get the budgets. We don’t get the opportunities to film those big luxurious films that you get 120 days to shoot,” he explained. “We don’t have those types of budgets, so some of it is Hollywood.”
He continued: “But you have to place the onus on yourself to understand that in Hollywood you don’t knock on the door and ask to get in. My brother taught me you kick that door off the hinges and you make your way in.”
He explained that once that “call to adventure” is heard within Hollywood among minorities, it will be reflected in the films that are made.
“We all step up and start making more movies of that cloth and then the audience, you guys come out and you support these movies,” he said. “This way we have a shot at doing it.”