Over 300 black artists and executives, including Michael B Jordan, Idris Elba and Viola Davis, called on Hollywood to get out of the police and invest in black communities in an open letter to the entertainment industry.
The letter, written by Insecure actor Kendrick Sampson who was hit by a police baton and shot seven times by rubber bullets during anti-black police violence protests in Los Angeles was developed with Avengers: Endgame star Tessa Thompson and Black Lives Matter co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Melina Abdullah, and co-signed by stars like Viola Davis, Michael B Jordan, Idris Elba, Chadwick Boseman, Octavia Spencer, Cynthia Erivo, Issa Rae, Anthony Mackie, Billy Porter and Danai Gurira.
The letter calls on the entertainment industry to divest themselves of the police, to deconcentrate white stories and law enforcement prospects, and to elevate black talent, intrigue, careers and wages. He also calls on the entertainment industry for its past and present encouragement of the epidemic of police violence and the culture of combating darkness, through numerous films and shows focused on the perspective of the police.
How Hollywood and mainstream media have contributed to the criminalization of blacks, the misrepresentation of the legal system, and the glorification of police corruption and violence have had dire consequences for the lives of blacks, the letter says. .
The letter links these representations to the assassination of George Floyd by former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin, and a long history of transphobic representations to the recent assassinations of Tony McDade in Florida, Nina Pop in Missouri, Dominique Fells in Philadelphia and Riah Milton in Ohio.
It follows a statement released last week by the Black Artists for Freedom collective, signed by more than 1,000 personalities including Trevor Noah, Ava DuVernay and John Legend, calling for an end to racial inequality in the arts and entertainment and for Hollywood to cut ties with the police.
The letter also demands accountability for the systemic inequalities behind the camera, including: monitoring agencies that do not recruit, retain or support black agents; unions that ignore intersectional concerns and black talent below the line; production companies with few or no blacks in senior management; and marketing budgets reduced or made inadequate by the myths of limited international sales and the lack of universality of stories led by blacks.
Whites make up the smallest racial demography in the world, but their stories are considered universally universal, the letter says. Despite the recent success of productions directed by blacks like Marvels Black Panther or the film by Melina Matzoukass Queen & Slim, the letter notes that when we have the rare chance to tell our stories, our development, production, distribution and marketers are often tainted, filtered and manipulated by the blank look.
Public legend follows a similar set of demands from more than 300 celebrities, including Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Andr Holland and Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage to challenge the white fragility of the American scene. This public letter also denounced the hierarchy of white-centered stories as well as the lack of diversity in management positions, training programs and casting positions. You are all part of this house of cards built on white fragility and supremacy, he said. And it is a house that will not resist.
Other signatories to the Hollywood open call include former Black-ish star Yara Shahidi, Alfre Woodard, Queen & Slim star Jodie Turner-Smith, Tiffany Haddish, Sterling K Brown and Taraji P Henson.
The letter calls on the entertainment industry to take responsibility for the spirit of remuneration for the influence of its work, because by allowing white people to control and oppress the stories that affirm the lives of blacks, Hollywood has inflicted directly and indirectly damage and oppression on our communities.
It ends with five requests echoing calls heard in national protests against police brutality and anti-black racism since the murder of George Floyd in police custody last month: divest themselves of the police, divest anti-black content, invest in our careers, invest in anti-racist content, invest in our community.
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