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Lee Daniels Tells Actors of Color “Stop Complaining And Do The Work”

By January 27th, 2021No Comments
Lee Daniels Tells Actors of Color "Stop Complaining And Do The Work"
Written by Mike Orie of
This is what Lee Daniels had to say in response to the #OscarsSoWhite movement.

Hollywood producer/filmmaker Lee Daniels (The Butler, Empire, Star) recently spoke with the New York Times about expanding after the success of Fox television series, Empire. And while Daniels touched on many things, it’s one comment that’s got many people in an uproar. It’s his remarks about #OscarsSoWhite and it’s purpose. In the interview he says:
Go out and do the work,” he fumed over oatmeal at his apartment. “Oscars so white! So what? Do your work. Let your legacy speak and stop complaining, man. Are we really in this for awards?”
“If I had thought that way – that the world was against me – I wouldn’t be here now,” he added. “These whiny people that think we’re owed something are incomprehensible and reprehensible to me. I don’t expect acknowledgement or acceptance from white America. I’m going to be me.”
But Daniels seems to totally miss the mark on this one. This is the same guy who’s built his career off the success of Black actors, often times exploiting the community through hyper-extreme representations of our culture.  He’s also the same guy who started a professional boycott after actress Monique failed to mention his name during her 2010 acceptance speech for best supporting actress.
He also seems to ignore hat #OscarsSoWhite was started due to for the second year in a row, all 20 actors nominated for awards were White. 2015 saw the release of record-breaking Straight Outta Compton and Creed, two films that definitely deserved to take home Oscars but didn’t. 
What’s problematic about this is, too often times, Black creatives like Daniels achieve a certain level of success, usually off the financial contribution and viewership of Black people, only to betray them once reaching said level of success. Daniels, a director who centers his entire career on our culture, has no room to throw us under the bus.
Read the full interview here.
What are your thoughts on Lee Daniels remarks?
Lee Daniels Tells Actors of Color "Stop Complaining And Do The Work"
Mike “Orie” Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the co-founder of music and culture website In his spare time, he’s probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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