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Oscars host Chris Rock blasts Hollywood over race in Essence

Chris Rock says in Essence magazine's March 2016

Chris Rock says in Essence magazine's March 2016 issue, "Black women get paid less than everybody in Hollywood." Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mark Metcalfe

Chris Rock takes the film industry to task and discusses his thoughts on hosting the Oscars in the new issue of Essence magazine.

“I’m going to do my best,” Rock says of his hosting duties at the Oscars on Feb. 28. “It could go horribly wrong. Don’t ever think that it can’t. That’s when it goes wrong — when you don’t think there’s any chance of it going wrong.”

Essence magazine’s March issue, which arrives on newsstands Feb. 12, is the first to feature the 51-year-old Rock on the cover. His interview with reporter Isabel Wilkerson was conducted in December, long before the current controversy over this year’s all-Caucasian acting Oscar nominees exploded, but such issues were clearly already on his mind. Among Rock’s comments — excerpted at the magazine’s website — are several statements about Hollywood’s lack of roles for women of color.

“I’ve never done a movie, any movie, the silliest movie, where someone, some studio person hasn’t gone, ‘Does the girl have to be black?’ ” Rock says. “Black women get paid less than everybody in Hollywood. Everybody’s talking about Jennifer Lawrence. Talk to Gabrielle Union. If you want to hear stories, talk to Nia Long. Talk to Kerry Washington. They would love to get to Jennifer Lawrence’s place, or just be treated with the same amount of respect.”

Rock also says he does his part to help solve the problem. “I think everything I’ve ever done has had a significant role for a black or brown woman. I refuse not to,” he says. He added that he had to fight to hire African-American actress Tichina Arnold for his television series, “Everybody Hates Chris.”

“I’m not even going to tell you who the network wanted,” Rock says. “She’s literally as good as Tina Fey or Julia Louis-Dreyfus or any of these chicks. They’re like, ‘Tichina who?’ ”

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