Chris Rock Totally Let Loose on #OscarsSoWhite in His Oscars Opening Monologue

February 29th 2016

Ingrid Holmquist

This isn’t the first time comedian Chris Rock has hosted the Oscars. But there's no doubt about it, the comedian called out Hollywood's racism problem this time around.

Rock had the gig 11 years ago and, at the time, discussing race was even more uncomfortable. His jokes about the lack of diversity in the Oscars and the miraculous four black nominees in the 2005 Oscars were met with squirms and polite laughter, rather than the applause and genuine laughter he’s receiving tonight after dishing his opening remarks.

It was obvious that Rock was ready to have real talk (and laughs) about the diversity problem in the Academy Awards.

It took only seconds for Rock to start making jokes about the whiteness of the awards show. “Man, I count at least 15 black people on that montage,” Rock said referring to the opening video.

This year’s Oscars is the second year in a row where there were zero people of color nominated for best or supporting actors. This sparked the widespread hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite and inspired many celebrities to boycott the Oscars for its lack of diversity. Celebrities Jada Pinket Smith, Will Smith, and Spike Lee – to name a few – are absent from the awards show Sunday night. Many encouraged Rock to forgo his job as host to join the boycott.

He responded to those statements in his opening monologue when he joked, “How come it’s only unemployed people that tell you to quit something?”

He figured, if not him, then who?

“The last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart,” said Rock.

The jokes continued, almost seeming to dissent the boycotters at first, but Rock redeemed himself when the jokes turned toward advocacy.

“We want opportunity. We want the black actors to get the same opportunities,” Rock said. “And that’s it. But not just once.”

Rock brought attention to how Leonardo DiCaprio gets “a great part every year.”

“All of you guys get great parts all the time,” he said. “What about the black actors?”

The opportunities to be nominated year after year simply aren’t there for people of color like they are for white actors.

In an odd turn of events, Rock invited the new Oscars' director of its "Minority Outreach Program," Stacey Dash who wished the audience a Happy Black History Month. It was, well, a little awkward.

Here's how the The Weeknd reacted to the odd exchange.

You might remember, Dash recently said this about Black History Month:

People took to Twitter to applaud Rock on his bold critique of the Oscars, while ironically hosting the Oscars.

Some applauded Rock's ability to not care about making the majority white audience squirm a little when talking about race.

With plenty of laughs and jabs to fill his monologue, perhaps his most clever joke of the monologue was when he closed out his speech with, "Aaaand we're black!"