Lee Daniels Talks About Why He Doesn’t Understand #OscarsSoWhite at SXSW: ‘No One In Hollywood Owes Me Anything’

Director Lee Daniels has been very bold in his opposition of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, and his speech at SXSW today only further proved why.

Nothing was off limits during Daniels’s hour long keynote speech. The filmmaker spoke off-the-cuff about every topic imaginable – from his rags to riches story, to Trump’s president and, most notably, where he stands with the ongoing diversity in Hollywood debate.

“Maybe I don’t understand the Oscars hashtag ‘#SoWhite […] because I paid my own way,” The Empire creator explained, “I don’t want to say the wrong thing. I know I’ll read about it tomorrow. [But] I believe we’ve created a generation [that] feels entitled.”

Daniels, who made a name for himself with films like Monster’s Ball and Precious, says that while he’s very aware that racism in the entertainment industry is alive and well, he feels this onus is on Black people to do the work. “No one in Hollywood owes me anything. I owe me something. […] I’m a 57-year-old man who watched his dad be called a nigger and watched him cry. So I know racism is real, but I’m not going to let it define me or stop me.”

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