More than 300 black artists and executives are asking Hollywood to make a change.
After being shot seven times by rubber bullets in a recent protest, “insecure” actor Kendrick Sampson wrote an open letter “to our allies in Hollywood,” asking Tinseltown to “dispose of the police,” “invest anti-racist. ” content “and more.
The letter, shared with Variety, was developed by “Thor: Ragnarok” star Tessa Thompson and Black Lives co-founders Matter Patrisse Cullors and Melina Abdullah.
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More than 300 black people involved in the film industry signed the letter, including Idris Elba, Queen Latifah, Anthony Mackie, Chadwick Boseman, Angela Bassett, Kerry Washington, Michael B. Jordan, Viola Davis, and many more.
“Hollywood has a privilege as a creative industry to imagine and create. We have significant influence over culture and politics. We have the ability to use our influence to imagine and create a better world,” the letter began. “However, historically and currently, Hollywood fosters the epidemic of police violence and the anti-black culture.”
The note said that current models of portraying blacks, the police, the justice system and more have “had dire consequences in black lives,” including stories depicting blacks as violent. Such performances, the letter said, “encourage cops like Derek Chauvin, George Floyd’s killer.”
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The letter said Hollywood rarely recruits black agents and that companies that profit from black stories often “rarely have high-level black executives with green light power.”
“Even with the recent successes of movies and television produced and led by Black, the myths of limited international sales and the lack of universality of Black-directed stories are used to reduce our content to smaller budgets and marketing campaigns. inadequate, “says the letter. “Whites are the smallest racial demographic in the world, but their stories are seen as universal at the international level. When we have the rare opportunity to tell our stories, our development, production, distribution and marketing processes are often clouded, filtered and manipulated by white eyes “.
The note then pointed to several examples of how prospective black employees are overlooked, giving black people less and less leverage to tell their own stories.
“By allowing whites to control and oppress black-life-affirming narratives, Hollywood has directly and indirectly inflicted harm and oppression on our communities. Because Hollywood has been a big part of the problem, we demand that it be part of the solution”. We as black people bring immeasurable cultural and economic value to the industry. We are also suffering from the oppression perpetuated by this industry. We have every right to demand this change, “said the letter.
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Five core demands were highlighted in the note: “Divestment of the police”, “divestment of anti-black content”, “invest in our careers”, “invest in anti-racist content” and “invest in our community”.
Specific measures to meet the demands were outlined on the BLD PWR website.
“We know that these changes have the power to change the lives of blacks in the United States. It is time for Hollywood to recognize its role and take responsibility for repairing the damage and being a proactive part of the change,” the letter concluded.
“In light of the continued systemic and brutal killings of black people, members of the Hollywood black community join the Black Lives Movement, a coalition of community organizations across the country, including Black Lives Matter, and with the families and loved ones of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Kenneth Ross Jr, Wakeisha Wilson, Rayshard Brooks and many others in the movement for Defund Police and Defender Black Lives. “
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The letter comes amid a period of massive civil unrest in the United States and around the world in response to police brutality against blacks.
The protests began worldwide after the death of George Floyd on May 25, who died in police custody after Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes in Minneapolis, Minnesota.