Happy Tuesday #Jontourage,
Welcome back to the “Classy Gent Chronicles”, where staying classy is the only way to be. Let's jump right into it....
The recent Oscar Award crowned many actors and actresses with awards for the roles they played. With every award show comes criticism of who left with awards. There is always the claim that “so and so” was robbed of an award. What makes it even trickier is when race comes into play with that accusation. For example, Denzel Washington was nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars for his role in “Fences” but lost to Casey Affleck for his role in “Manchester at Sea”. I did not actually see “Manchester at Sea” but I did see “Fences” and I loved it.
In previous years, many award shows (the Oscars especially) have been accused of being racially biased due to the low of number of minority winners. When it comes to the top tier award categories, the amount of minority representation becomes even less. Similarly with the Grammy’s, Adele won Album of the Year over Beyonce, which was met with a lot of criticism as well, even from Adele. As time has gone on, we have seen more minorities like Viola Davis receive spotlight for her talent on the big screen. However, with Denzel Washington not winning Best Actor, the claims of racism are still there.
I am sure “Manchester at Sea” was also a great movie but my issue is greater than the awards ceremonies itself. As a minority writer, I think about this daunting question. Would I only want to win a book award for political reasons? I am very passionate about my first book “Master of Ceremonies: A Male’s Guide for a Successful Life”. I think the book definitely has award-winning potential because of its diverse content and connection to the current young adult male. Some people see it as a win is a win as the old saying goes but I honestly believe my book and my efforts as an author are worth more than that. I personally don’t want my award due to a technicality. I want it because I was undisputedly the best.
I serve as a co-host for a Youtube series called “The Classic Black Man”. On the show, we recently talked about minorities and award shows and it’s important to remember from a historical context, awards like the Oscars were not designed with minorities in mind similarly to the United States Constitution. There is a demand to be recognized by major award organizations; however, we have many of our own minority-based award shows that sometimes go unsupported. Those shows need more support as well. I agree that representation of all backgrounds is major for shows like the Grammys, Emmys, and the Oscars but again ask yourself, how would you want to win your award? Would you want to win because you were the undisputed best or as a political move to silence critics?
Moral of the story: There are many roads to success. You have to choose how you want to be known. Remember at the end of the day, an award does not define effort or impact. As long as you reached at least one person with what you did, it was worth it.
Remember, in order to live out your dreams, you have to think it, feel it, live it! Until next time, stay classy...
Jonathan C. Harris is no stranger to leadership, hard work, or success. At the age of ten years old, he earned the right to be a guest weatherman for a day on Fox 5 DC News. He has already received over 100 honors and awards including Forty Under 40 for Prince George’s County, MD, TEDx Talk speaker, American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Outstanding Men’s Program, high school Valedictorian and the Kiwanis Club Citizenship Award. Raised in Fort Washington, Maryland, he has served in leadership positions his entire life, from being the manager of the school store in elementary school to the president of the Homelessness Awareness Club in middle school to the president of the National Honor Society in high school.