Ryan Coogler has stunned civil rights activists by announcing he won't be pulling the Black Panther sequel out of Georgia.
Producers and directors of several projects have opted not to shoot in the state following the passage of repressive new election laws, which restrict the rights of African-Americans in particular, but Coogler has announced he won't be relocating because the decision will directly affect crew members in Georgia.
A statement from the moviemaker reads: "The fight for full enfranchisement is fundamental to the African-American struggle in this country and to this country’s claim to functioning democracy. As an African-American, and as a citizen, I oppose all attempts, explicit and otherwise, to shrink the electorate and reduce access to the ballot."
He went on: "I say this as I return to Georgia, a state that holds a special place in my heart. I lived in Atlanta for eight months while filming my last movie. I have long looked forward to returning. But, when I was informed of the passage of SB202 in the state, and its ramifications for the state’s voters, I was profoundly disappointed."
Expressing that he wished to turn his "concern into action", Coogler explained: "I could not do so without first being educated on the specifics of Georgia."
Having spoken with voting rights activists in the state, the filmmaker shared: "I have come to understand that many of the people employed by my film, including all the local vendors and businesses we engage, are the very same people who will bear the brunt of SB202. For those reasons, I will not be engaging in a boycott of Georgia."
He noted: "What I will be doing is using my voice to emphasize the effects of SB202, it’s shameful roots in Jim Crow (sic), and doing all I can to support organizations fighting voter suppression here in the state."