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Steve Harvey Sounds Off On Oscars Backlash, Says ‘We Need’ Host Chris Rock

Steve Harvey is looking forward to watching Chris Rock host
the Oscars – as long as he shows up, that is.

The comedian and TV personality, fresh from accepting
NATPE’s Brandon Tartikoff award in Miami on Wednesday, spoke to Access
Hollywood’s Liz Hernandez about the influence he believes Chris can have
on the
A-list fete in light of its current diversity scandal.

“You take Chris off, ain’t no blacks. Nowhere,”
Steve said
, when asked if he supports Tyrese’s suggestion that the second-time
host back down from his duties. “You can’t go forward and backwards at the
same time.” 

While Steve said he does “respect” stars like Jada
Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee for opting out of the Feb. 28 ceremony, he also
predicts Chris will use the event as an opportunity to sound off on the
controversy himself.

“You let Chris Rock out there live on the Oscars, and
you don’t think that Chris Rock is going to make several pointed comments about
it? Oh, you better you believe he is,” Steve told Access.

“Chris Rock will be the best thing for the movement for the
Oscars,
than even the people not showing up. Trust and believe. Chris Rock is
too smart and courageous of a guy, and I think he should host the Oscars,”
he continued.

While some of the celebrities supporting the #OscarsSoWhite
backlash are already noted film stars, Steve said Chris’ comedy career has
primed him for this particular moment.

“This is his gig. It’s his career, it’s his shot. He’s
a host. Chris Rock’s not an actor, Chris Rock will never, ever get an Oscar. He
knows that. Let the man do what he do, but he’s going to say something that
night that will be beneficial to a lot of people,” Steve said.

Adding, “I understand what everyone is saying, but
right now I think we need a Chris Rock on that night. I really do. I think
he’ll do more for it than [he would] not showing up.”  

Steve was also candid about other social concerns that he
said may deserve more attention than a Hollywood awards show.

“The bigger statement would be if we stop shooting
black kids that were unarmed. The bigger statement would be if we had some type
of damn gun control laws; that would be a bigger statement. What you dumping it
on a black comedian for?” he said. “We can’t even get a gun law in
this country. We can’t even go to church, go to a movie, buy skittles, drink
iced tea or play your music loud without getting gunned down. We can’t find the
people that are chopping people’s heads off. We got plenty of stuff to
do.”

As for his own Oscar night plans, Steve joked that he has no
choice but to opt out of the festivities.

“I’m going to help with the boycott; I’m not
going,” he told Access, clarifying, “I wasn’t invited.”

— Erin Biglow

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