Singer Anohni, who was previously Antony Hegarty, has been nominated for an Oscar for her hauntingly beautiful song, Manta Ray, which was written for the documentary Racing Extinction. However, she was not invited to perform at the award show, and in response to this snub, she wrote an open letter to the Academy.
She began by saying, “I am the only transgendered performer ever to have been nominated for an Academy Award, and for that I thank the artists who nominated me.”
After learning that she received a nomination, she began rehearsing a performance, under the assumption that typically the nominees are invited to perform at the show. However, she was not invited to perform, while other artists were.
“A week later, Sam Smith, Lady Gaga and the Weeknd were rolled out as the evening’s entertainment with more performers ‘soon to be announced.’ Confused, I sat and waited. Would someone be in touch? But as time bore on I heard nothing.”
“I slowly realized that the positive implication of this nomination was being retracted. The producers seemed to have decided to stage performances only by the singers who were deemed commercially viable.”
And to make matters worse, she says: “…now the papers were naming me as one of two artists to have been ‘cut’ by the Academy due to ‘time constraints.’ In the next sentence it was announced that Dave Grohl, not nominated in any category, had been added to the list of performers.”
She continued: “I want to be clear – I know that I wasn’t excluded from the performance directly because I am transgendered,” she wrote. “I was not invited to perform because I am relatively unknown in the U.S.”
However, that was sufficiently offensive, and as a result, Anohni decided not to attend the show at all.
“I have decided not to attend the Academy Awards this election year. I will not be lulled into submission with a few more well manufactured, feel-good ballads and a bit of good old fashioned T. and A.”
What do you think? Was Anohni not included in the performances because she is transgender?