The biggest question going into the 2016 Oscars was how Chris Rock would handle the topic of diversity — namely, the lack of it in all four acting categories for the second year in the row. And Rock devoted his entire opening monologue to that subject.
His speech vacillated between putting the Oscars into perspective, declaring that Hollywood is racist, and pleading for more opportunity for actors of color.
"We had real things to protest," Rock said, joking about why diversity at the Academy Awards has become a conversation only recently. "When your grandmother is swinging from a tree, it's really hard to care about Best Documentary Foreign Short."
He also made fun of black actors, actresses, and directors who were protesting the awards.
"Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties," he said, referring to Jada Pinkett-Smith. "I wasn't invited."
It was a bit shocking to hear Rock call the protests dumb and meaningless. But by putting the awards into perspective, he was able to segue into why the Oscars matter to the people in the industry.
"[Hollywood] is a different type of racist," he said. "Hollywood is sorority racist. Like, 'We like you, Rhonda. But you're not a Kappa.'"
Rock said that what it all comes down to is the chance to be in a great role.
"We want opportunity," Rock said. "Black actors want the same opportunities — not just once. "
Watch Chris Rock insert diversity into Hollywood films