In the emotional spoken-word poem, which Cannon delivered from a staircase in a black and white clip, the 35-year-old started by explaining that the piece was “not another trophy rant.”
“Look what they did to Oscar,” he said, before referencing some of the headline-making civilian deaths from the past several years. “I’m talking Oscar Grant, Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray. Why we trust what the news say anyway? It’s blasphemous, don’t get distracted by these lottery tickets and statues.”
He continued, referencing the Oscars statuette as “just fake gold and plastic,” and alluding to the Academy’s lack of diversity with “We crying for votes but how many of us is on the board.”
“Hollywood mainstream don’t validate me, yo,” Cannon said. ” You in this show for the business, or this business for the show?”
VIDEO: Oscars Boycott Backlash
Cannon’s piece comes after a slew of other stars have addressed the complete lack of non-white actors among this year’s acting nominees.
Several stars have said that they won’t attend the awards – including Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and director Spike Lee. Tyrese even said that host Chris Rock should step down from the show, while others, like Oscar-winner Don Cheadle, said there is “no one better poised” to address the controversy than the comedian. (For the record, Rock isn’t stepping down and has reportedly written a whole new script that will include #OscarsSoWhite jokes.)
In response to the backlash, the Academy announced on Friday they are taking new steps to include more women and people of color, which Lee said was “the right thing.” However, the director said over the weekend that while he “commended” the Academy for their action, he would still not be attending.
“Overcoming obstacles, definition of black,” Cannon concluded his poem. “Hashtag #facts. But I guess they don’t make no awards for that. Real talk. Real Kings don’t need no pats on the back. #Dontbedistracted.”