Kendrick Sampson and Tessa Thompson ask Hollywood to part with the police – Variety

After organizing a demonstration in Los Angeles in which he was hit with a police baton and shot seven times with rubber bullets, Kendrick Sampson (“Unsure”, “Miss Juneteenth”) wrote a letter to the general entertainment industry , asking Hollywood to get rid of the police and invest in the black community. The letter, shared exclusively with Variety, was developed alongside Tessa Thompson (“Avengers: Endgame”, “Westworld”) and Black Lives co-founders Matter Patrisse Cullors and Melina Abdullah. It is signed by more than 300 black artists and executives, including Thompson Marvel co-stars Chadwick Boseman, Anthony Mackie, Michael B. Jordan, and Danai Gurira, as well as Billy Porter, Cynthia Erivo, Idris Elba, Issa Rae, Octavia Spencer , Viola Davis and many more. A statement by Black Artists for Freedom follows, which was also signed by a list of prominent black artists and called on cultural institutions to “sever ties with the police.”

Here is the letter:

To our allies in Hollywood:

Hollywood has a privilege as a creative industry to imagine and create. We have a significant influence on culture and politics. We have the ability to use our influence to imagine and create a better world. However, historically and currently, Hollywood fosters the epidemic of police violence and anti-black culture.

How Hollywood and the mainstream media have contributed to the criminalization of blacks, the misrepresentation of the legal system, and the glorification of corruption and police violence It has had serious consequences in the lives of blacks. This includes stories that demonize our mental health as violent. These stories contribute to the murders of black people like Deborah Danner, who was killed by the New York sergeant. Hugh Barry also includes the perpetuation of transphobic stories used to justify the murder of Tony McDade in Florida, Nina Pop in Missouri, Dominique Fells in Philadelphia, and Riah Milton in Ohio. We must end the exaltation of officers and agents who are brutal and act outlaw as heroes. These representations encourage police like Derek Chauvin, the assassin of George Floyd.

Lack of a true commitment to inclusion and institutional support has only reinforced Hollywood’s legacy of white supremacy. This is not just in storytelling. It is cultural and systemic in Hollywood. Our agencies, which often serve as guardians of the industry, do not recruit, retain, or support black agents. Our unions do not consider or defend our specific and intersectional struggles. Unions are even worse for our below-the-line team, especially for black women. Hollywood studios and production companies that exploit and profit from our stories rarely have high-level black executives with green light power.

Even with the recent successes of movies and television produced and directed by Black, the myths of limited international sales and the lack of universality of stories directed by Black are used to reduce our content to smaller budgets and inadequate marketing campaigns. . Whites are the smallest racial demographic in the world, but their stories are seen as universal internationally. When we have the rare opportunity to tell our stories, our development, production, distribution and marketing processes are often clouded, filtered and manipulated by the white gaze.

Due to Hollywood’s immense influence on politics and culture, all the racism, discrimination and glass ceilings that blacks experience in Hollywood on a regular basis have direct implications on the lives of blacks everywhere.

Every time a black executive or assistant is overlooked for a promotion, or the marketing or production budget for another black-directed film is limited, or when black agents are not supported, black writers are left behind, outnumbered. number or declined, black hair stylists are sloppy, black grips, players and camera assistants and operators are excluded from below-line junctions – EVERY TIME – this gives us less control over our narratives, legacy continues of the influence of white supremacy on our stories and makes black people in Hollywood and across America less secure.

By allowing whites to control and oppress the narratives that affirm black lives, 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 also suffer the oppression perpetuated by this industry. We have every right to demand this change.

We demand better. Show that Black Lives Matter cares about Hollywood by taking bold steps to affirm, defend and invest in black lives. Follow the examples of the Minneapolis School District, the Denver Public Schools, the University of Minnesota and many other institutions to get rid of the police system and invest in the black community. We demand that Hollywood:






Complete list of lawsuits at

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.

In light of the continued systemic and brutal killings of black people, members of the black community in Hollywood join with the Black Lives Movement, a coalition of community organizations across the country, including Black Lives Matter, and with 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.



Movement for black lives

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Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles

Los Angeles People’s Budget Coalition

National Black Justice Coalition

NAACP Hollywood Bureau

Patrisse Cullors – Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter, BLD PWR Board Member

Melina Abdullah – Co-Founder Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles, BLD PWR Council

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