EXCLUSIVE: Janet Hubert on Her Oscar Feud With Jada Pinkett Smith: 'I Respect Jada Highly'
By Meredith B. Kile
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Janet Hubert is getting candid on Thursday’s The Real, opening up about her comments on her former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s proposed Oscar boycott.
“I respect Jada highly,” Hubert says in ETonline’s exclusive clip. “I respect her skill, I respect her as an artist, I respect her as an actress, very much.”
The actress -- who played Aunt Viv for the first three seasons of Fresh Prince -- went in on the Smiths back in January for proposing that actors of color boycott this year’s Academy Awards because of the lack of diversity in the Oscars’ major acting awards. Hubert said at the time that she found it “ironic that somebody who has made their living, and made millions and millions of dollars from the very people you're talking about boycotting just because you didn't get a nomination, just because you didn't win. That is not the way life works, baby.”
"It's just self-contrived because her hubby didn’t get a nomination," Hubert later said of Smith in an interview with the L.A. Times. "I was looking at this ridiculousness people called a historic moment and I was annoyed. I was annoyed because it dilutes the movement when you only stand up for yourself."
On her appearance on The Real, Hubert reiterates that lack of nominations and opportunities for people of color in Hollywood is not a new issue.
“There’s been a diversity issue, years and years and years ago,” she says. “This didn’t just start this year. This started way back when the Oscars first came up.”
“It wasn’t created for us, by us,” she adds. “We can do our own thing, definitely.”
During her initial rant against the Oscar boycott, Hubert also called out her former on-screen nephew on Fresh Prince, Will Smith,for not helping her and her co-stars negotiate raises while she was on the show. "Karma's a b**ch," she said at the time. "You ain't Barack and Michelle Obama, and y'all need to get over yourselves."
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On Jan. 20, ET exclusively obtained footage of Smith’s response to Hubert, in which she said the boycott “isn't really about the Oscars."
"Really, in my plea to ask all communities and people of color to take back our power is so that we can use it in all sectors of our community, and right now, specifically with African-American people, we have some very serious issues that I think we as a people have to move together on,” she said. “I'm hoping we can find ways to step together in this instead of finding ways to fight each other. I got love for everybody."
See more from Smith’s response in the video below.