Tessa Thompson, Michael B. Jordan And More Demand Hollywood Cut Ties With Police

Amy West
Photo credit: Jacopo M. Raule - Getty Images

From ELLE

Marvel star Tessa Thompson, Insecure's Kendrick Sampson and more have encouraged the movie industry to cut ties with the police.

The actors – who have been rallying for social change following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the subsequent protests – teamed with Variety and Black Lives Matter co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Melina Abdullah recently to pen an open letter to Hollywood.

In it, they insisted it was time for the industry to "acknowledge its role and take on the responsibility of repairing the damage and being a proactive part of the change".

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"We demand better. Prove that Black Lives Matter to Hollywood by taking bold moves to affirm, defend and invest in Black lives," it read.

"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.

"We demand that Hollywood: DIVEST FROM POLICE, DIVEST FROM ANTI-BLACK CONTENT, INVEST IN OUR CAREERS, INVEST IN ANTI-RACIST CONTENT, INVEST IN OUR COMMUNITY," the statement continued, before directing readers to Sampson's organisation BLD PWR for its full list of demands.

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The message was supported by more than 300 Black artists and executives, including Thompson's MCU and Westworld co-stars Chadwick Boseman, Anthony Mackie, Michael B Jordan, Danai Gurira, Thandie Newton and Lena Waithe, plus American Horror Story's Billy Porter and Angela Bassett.

Insecure creator Issa Rae, Zoë Kravitz, Cynthia Erivo, Idris Elba, Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis also featured.

"Hollywood has a privilege as a creative industry to imagine and create," the letter continued. "We have significant influence over culture and politics. We have the ability to use our influence to imagine and create a better world.

Photo credit: Kevin Mazur - Getty Images

Related: Marvel star Anthony Mackie praised for "powerful" and emotional Black Lives Matter interview

"Yet, historically and currently, Hollywood encourages the epidemic of police violence and culture of anti-Blackness," the letter explained, claiming that entertainment executives have "directly and indirectly inflicted harm and oppression" onto Black communities by "allowing white people to control and oppress the narratives that affirm Black lives".

"We, as Black people, bring immense, immeasurable cultural and economic value to the industry. We are also suffering from the oppression perpetuated by this industry. We have every right to demand this change."

For more information on how you can support Black Lives Matter, please visit its official website or donate here. Readers can also donate to the UK anti-discrimination group Stand Up To Racism, and the Unite Families & Friends Campaign, which supports those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody.

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