ANOHNI Boycotts The Oscars

ANOHNI Boycotts The Oscars

THE SINGER FORMERLY KNOWN AS ANTONY (OF ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS) ATTRIBUTES HER PERFORMANCE SNUB TO HER LACK OF COMMERCIAL APPEAL, MAKING HER THE LATEST IN A LONG STRING OF PROTESTORS OF WHAT MIGHT BE THE OSCAR'S MOST CONTROVERSIAL SHOW YET

THE SINGER FORMERLY KNOWN AS ANTONY (OF ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS) ATTRIBUTES HER PERFORMANCE SNUB TO HER LACK OF COMMERCIAL APPEAL, MAKING HER THE LATEST IN A LONG STRING OF PROTESTORS OF WHAT MIGHT BE THE OSCAR'S MOST CONTROVERSIAL SHOW YET

Text: ALEXANDER HAKIMI

This Sunday’s Oscars might be the most controversial in history as more stars, including nominated singer Anohni, formerly known as Antony and the Johnsons, decide to boycott the annual awards show.

While the decisions of Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee not to attend was rooted in the lack racial diversity among nominees, Anohni’s decision is rooted in not being asked to perform even though she is one of the night’s five nominated musicians—which the singer believes is due to a lack of commercial viability.

"Last night I tried to force myself to get on the plane to fly to LA for all the nominee events, but the feelings of embarrassment and anger knocked me back, and I couldn’t get on the plane," Anohni confessed in an open letter on her social media. "There I was, feeling a sting of shame that reminded me of America’s earliest affirmations of my inadequacy as a transperson. I turned around at the airport and went back home. As if to rub salt into the wound, the next morning the Oscars added that I was transgendered to the trivia page of their website."

Nominated for "Manta Ray," a J. Ralph duet she wrote for environmental awareness documentary Racing Extinction, Anohni understands the snub could be an effect of networks looking for big-name performers to sell more expensive advertising slots. "I know that I wasn’t excluded from the performance directly because I am transgendered. I was not invited to perform because I am relatively unknown in the U.S., singing a song about ecocide, and that might not sell advertising space."

While the Oscars would be right about Anohni’s lack of fame, giving her a performance slot would have been a good way to make the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag a little less powerful. Anohni, the first trangender person nominated since a transgender songwriter nominee in the ‘70s, would have made a seemingly bigoted awards show a little more inclusive. But perhaps the Oscars prefer controversy.

The host of Sunday’s show, Chris Rock, cut his Hollywood Reporter cover story short after hearing about the nomination snubs of black actors. While the lack of diversity at this year’s Oscars is disappointing, we definitely look forward to hearing Rock’s thoughts in his opening monologue.

Credits: PHOTOGRAPHY INEZ & VINOODH

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