Over 300 Black Artists Call For Hollywood To Divest From Police

Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Idris Elba, Viola Davis, and Tessa Thompson are among over 300 Black artists and executives calling on Hollywood to prove Black Lives Matter. In a letter penned by Insecure actor Kendrick Sampson, Thompson, and Black Lives Matter co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Melina Abdullah, the group calls on Hollywood to divest from police and elevate Black talent and stories amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement sparked by the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police officers.

Over 300 Black artists and executives signed an open letter calling on the entertainment industry to divest from police and anti-Black content, and instead elevate Black talent, storylines, careers, and pay. The open letter reads (via Variety):

"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. Yet, historically and currently, Hollywood encourages the epidemic of police violence and culture of anti-Blackness."

The letter was penned by Insecure actor Kendrick Sampson, who was shot by rubber bullets and hit with a police baton during anti-police brutality protests in Los Angeles, as well as Avengers: Endgame star Tessa Thompson and Black Lives Matter co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Melina Abdullah. Co-signers include Viola Davis, Michael B Jordan, Idris Elba, Chadwick Boseman, Octavia Spencer, Cynthia Erivo, Issa Rae, Anthony Mackie, Billy Porter, and Danai Gurira.

The letter, which links the portrayals of Black people in Hollywood and mainstream media to the killing of Floyd and other instances of police brutality, as well as Hollywood's long history of transphobic portrayals with the killings of Tony McDade in Florida, Nina Pop in Missouri, Dominique Fells in Philadelphia and Riah Milton in Ohio:

"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."

The letter, which comes on the tail of the TV industry grappling with its part in glorifying police brutality, calls on Hollywood to "divest from the police and from anti-Black content," while urging the entertainment industry instead to invest in "anti-racist content," and Black communities.

"We demand better," the letter concludes. "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."