This Day in Black History: Feb. 27, 2005

Comedian Chris Rock became the first African-American to serve as solo host of the Academy Awards.

Posted: 02/27/2014 12:00 AM EST

Comedian and actor Chris Rock is the epitome of irreverence. Perhaps that's why he was tapped to serve as the solo host of the Academy Awards ceremony broadcast on Feb. 27, 2005. The year before, the ratings for the annual event had dipped by 21 percent, The New York Times reports, and 5 percent during Rock's turn as host.

Rock, whose comedic performances are sublimely profane and riddled with the offensive N-word, kept it clean while also "going there," insulting popular actors like Jude Law and Colin Farrell.

"They like to say there's over 100 stars out tonight," he said. "No, there's not. There's only four real stars. The rest are just popular people. Clint Eastwood is a star. That's a star. Tobey Maguire is just a boy in tights."

But being a good sport, Rock also poked fun at himself.

"You want Denzel and all you can get is me?" he said, the Associated Press reported. "Wait. Denzel's a fine actor. He woulda never made Pootie Tang."


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Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick.

 (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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