Aunt Viv thinks that Will Smith’s wife needs to concentrate on more important racial matters than the Oscars. That’s according to a new video that actress Janet Hubert uploaded to YouTube in the wake of Jada Pinkett’s call for an Oscars boycott from black artists. Hubert played Will Smith’s aunt Vivian, usually referred to as Aunt Viv, for the first three years of Smith’s breakout TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Pinkett, along with director Spike Lee, is calling for the boycott to draw attention to the lack of diversity at the Academy Awards.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. During the 4 Minute Video, Hubert Asked Pinkett, ‘Does Your Man Not Have a Mouth of His Own?’
The 60-year-old Hubert does not hold back during the four minute video, during one segments she tells Pinkett:
First of all, Miss Thing, does your man not have a mouth of his own with which to speak?…
The second thing, girlfriend, there’s a lot of s**t going on in the world that you all don’t seem to recognize. People are dying. Our boys are being shot left and right. People are starving. People are trying to pay bills. And you’re talking about some s**t actors and Oscars. It just ain’t that deep.
She goes on:
And here’s the other thing, for you to ask other actors, and other black actresses and actors, too, to jeopardize their career and their standing in a town that you know damn well you don’t do that. And here’s the other thing—they don’t care.
They don’t care! And I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living, made their living and made millions and millions of dollars from the very people you’re talking about boycotting just because you didn’t get a nomination, just because you didn’t win.
2. Hubert Has Beef With Will Smith Going Back to ‘Fresh Prince’ When She Accused Him of Getting Her Fired, Calling it a ‘Black-on-Black Attack’
In 1993, while The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was one of America’s most-beloved sitcoms, Hubert was abruptly fired from the show. The official reason given was that Hubert had become pregnant which violated her contract, her character was made pregnant to accommodate her. After she, and her character, gave birth, Hubert left the sitcom. She later sued Smith and NBC, reported Variety. Hubert alleged that the Bad Boys star was enraged when she got pregnant. Her lawsuit said that Smith used this influence with the network to force her from the show.
Jet then reported that Smith had given an interview to an Atlanta radio station where he said that Hubert’s problems went beyond her pregnancy. The magazine said Smith stated:
I can say straight up that Janet Hubert wanted the show to be The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air Show because I know she is going to dog me in the press…She has basically gone from a quarter of a million dollars a year to nothing. She’s mad now but she’s been mad all along.
She said once, ‘I’ve been in the business for 10 years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.’ No matter what, to her I’m just the anti-christ.
Hubert responded to the magazine saying it was unfortunate that Smith performed a “black-on-black attack.” She added that she had “too much class” to get into a war of words with Smith.
3. She Was the Original Tantomile on the First Run of ‘Cats’
According to her IMDb page, Hubert is a native of the south side of Chicago. She’s appeared in episodes of Friends and NYPD Blue as well as extended runs in All My Children and One Live to Live.
In 2009, she told Essence magazine that she married a man named Lawrence Kraft who owns a car repair shop. She said:
His name is Lawrence Kraft and he’s 50. I met him when he fixed my car. He runs his own shop. He’s an amazing man. I was a customer for four years and he finally asked me to the opera.
4. Hubert Suffers From Osteoporosis & Is an Ambassador for the National Osteoporosis Foundation
In a testimonial on Empowher, Hubert says that she was first diagnosed with osteoporosis when she was 46. She says in the video clip that her doctor “was actually more shocked even than I was. So it was profound, to say the least, because I didn’t fit any of the categories or any of the criteria and I was in nowhere, you know, I was 46 and black and they always say we don’t get it. But the problem is that by the time they diagnosed African-American with having osteoporosis, it’s too late. I had a minus-3 fracture risk, which is very, very bad, very acute.” Since then she has worked an ambassador for the National Osteoporosis Foundation. In 2005, she was awarded the charity’s Champion award.
5. The President of the Academy Has Said That Work Is Being Done to Help Diversify the Awards
In a statement on the controversy created over the lack of diversity in the 2016 Oscar nominations, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said:
I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees. While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes.
The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.
As many of you know, we have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly.
This isn’t unprecedented for the Academy. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together.
In a separate tweet on the controversy, Jada Pinkett wrote, “At the Oscars…people of color are always welcomed to give out awards…even entertain. But we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating all together? People can only treat us in the way in which we allow. With much respect in the midst of deep disappointment.”