Quincy Jones will only present at the Academy Awards if he can speak about “the lack of diversity” in the nominations.
The 82-year-old musician – who was musical director and conductor of the Oscars in 1971 and 1995 and was also the first black person to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award – has been asked to take a role in this year’s ceremony and though he won’t be joining the likes of Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith in snubbing the event, he does have conditions he wants to be met by the Academy before he’ll get involved.
He said: “Spike pulled out, Jada pulled out. I’ve been involved with Academy longer than I care to remember. I was the first black board member, the first black conductor — I hate ‘first black’ because that means ‘only.’ I want the young African-American kids to know that the door is open.
“They called me to go present with Pharrell and Common. When I’m back [in LA], I’m going to ask to let me speak for five minutes on the lack of diversity. If not, I’m not going to [present].”
Quincy thinks the lack of nominations for minorities is “frightening” and he wants to help “solve and fix” the problem.
Speaking in Miami during a Q&A with producer Norman Lear, conducted by Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, he said: “There’s two ways to protest it: You can boycott it or you can solve it and fix it. It’s frightening to see [nominees] 90% white and 80% white males. It’s ridiculous. It’s wrong.”