Chadwick Boseman, Tessa Thompson, Michael B. Jordan, Viola Davis, and Idris Elba are some of the over 300 Black artists and studio executives who have signed an open letter calling on Hollywood to divest from the police and from producing and distributing anti-Black content (via Variety). The open letter was drafted by “Insecure” and “Miss Juneteenth” actor Kendrick Sampson along with Thompson and Black Lives Matter co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Melina Abdullah. Sampson was shot by rubber bullets and hit with a police baton at the end of May while peacefully protesting the death of George Floyd.
“Hollywood has a privilege as a creative industry to imagine and create,” the open letter reads. “We have significant influence over culture and politics. We have the ability to use our influence to imagine and create a better world. Yet, historically and currently, Hollywood encourages the epidemic of police violence and culture of anti-Blackness.”
The letter states that “the way that Hollywood and mainstream media have contributed to the criminalization of Black people, the misrepresentation of the legal system, and the glorification of police corruption and violence has had dire consequences on Black lives.”
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“These stories contribute to the killings of Black people like Deborah Danner, who was murdered by NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry,” the letter continues. “It also includes the perpetuation of transphobic stories which are 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 that are brutal and act outside of the law as heroes. These portrayals encourage cops like Derek Chauvin, the murderer of George Floyd.”
The letter calls on Hollywood to “divest from the police and from anti-Black content,” while urging the industry to instead invest in “anti-racist content,” Black careers, and Black communities.
“We demand better,” the letter states. “Prove that Black Lives Matter to Hollywood by taking bold moves to affirm, defend and invest in Black lives. Follow the examples of the Minneapolis School District, Denver Public Schools, the University of Minnesota and many other institutions in divesting from the policing system and investing in the Black community.”
Head over to Variety’s website to read the entire letter.