Hundreds of Black Actors Demand Change and Dissociation with Police

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LOS ANGELES - AUG 29: Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey at the Premiere Of OWN's "Queen Sugar" at the Warner Brothers Studios on August 29, 2016 in Burbank, CA - Image (Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com)

Hundreds of Black actors, filmmakers, artists, and influencers are demanding industries they work to cut their ties to the police, pay Black actors better, and promote Black leaders.

On Juneteeth, industry actors and directors including Sterling K. Brown, Gabrielle Union, Cynthia Erivo, Ava DuVernay, Barry Jenkins, Nia DaCosta, Trevor Noah, Lena Waithe, Justin Simien, Lee Daniels, Dee Rees, Franklin Leonard, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Niecy Nash, Thandie Newton, Janet Mock, and others signed their names to an artists’ statement for the collective Black Artists for Freedom.

In the statement, the Black actors say the current protests advocating the end to systemic racism and police brutality has inspired them to “build on their necessary demands — including, chiefly, the abolition of police and the complete dismantling of the racist prison-industrial system.”

The goal is to “amplify the movement’s work and to call out our own industries for what they are: institutions the promote colonialism, capitalism and racism, and that function in exploitative and destructive ways.” In addition, the statement adds those signed are looking to “eliminate” racist stereotypes of Black people in media.

In the series of demands, there is a call to end the media’s ties to the police. The Black Artists for Freedom calls on theaters, studios, and other venues to end their contracts with law enforcement. The statement also calls for these institutions to “publicly condemn the institution of police as a violent force that exists to further class divisions and capitalistic exploitation which harm our communities.”

The statement says it wants to promote the current movement to defund the police and by cutting the police off from the previously mentioned industries, which is “a first and clear step that cultural institutions must take toward the broader call to defund the police nationwide.”

Other initiatives in the statement including hiring Black talent, paying them fairly, mentoring, and marketing their projects. The statement also calls for the hiring of Black leaders and executives to learn more about Black history.

To join the Black Artists for Freedom, Click Here

In relevant news, thousands of British actors, producers, and TV professionals have signed an open letter to the United Kingdom film industry calling for an end to “systemic racism”.

The letter demands the UK industry to do the highlighted points:

  • Banish your weak excuses
  • Empower black and brown independent producers
  • Expand your vision
  • Be more demanding

Industry-leading British actors and professionals that signed the letter include Noel Clarke, David Oyelowo, Sophie Okonedo, Meera Syal, Gurinder Chadha, Asif Kapadia, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Harewood and Himesh Patel.

White members of the British TV and film, including Sandi Toksvig, Colin Firth, Stephen Graham, Samantha Morton, Bill Nighy, Ruth Wilson, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, Sue Perkins, and Vicky McClure.

“Our stories are referred to as “too small” because they do not centre around white characters or a small subset of actors whom you deem valuable; they are not always written by the same white writers that you deem to be “safe”,” the letter reads.

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