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Over 300 Black Artists Call on Hollywood to “Prove Black Lives Matter”

Photos by DFree and Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com

Photos by DFree and Kathy Hutchins/ Shutterstock.com

More than 300 Black actors, musicians and prominent figures in the media and entertainment industries have signed an open letter calling on Hollywood to show their support for the Black community both on and off the screen.

The letter is written by actor Kendrick Sampson who was shot seven times with rubber bullets at a recent BLM protest he co-organised in Los Angeles and is in collaboration with Avengers: Endgame’s Tessa Thompson and founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, Patrisse Cullors and Melina Abdullah.

Signed by Yara Shahidi, Viola Davis, Idris Elba and Octavia Spencer, the letter details a number of ways the industry can do better when it comes to justice and equality.

Click to read the full letter.

“Hollywood has a privilege as a creative industry to imagine and create. We have significant influence over culture and politics,” the letter begins.

“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 urges the industry to divest from police and use private security companies where possible, employ more Black people in executive roles, stop centering white stories and glorifying the perspectives of law enforcement and, invest in the careers of Black creatives and anti-racist content.

“By allowing white people to control and oppress the narratives that affirm Black lives, Hollywood has directly and indirectly inflicted harm and oppression onto our communities,” the letter reads.

Tiffany Haddish, Taraji P. Henson and Michael B. Jordan are also among the hundreds of names who have signed the letter.

“This recent amplification of Black centric media is a direct result of the nation and globe finally fighting to protect the dignity and value of Black life,” actress Tessa Thompson writes in a social media post explaining the reasons for the open letter.

“This letter is merely an invitation to begin the real work, of negotiations around how to make change actionable,” she continues.

“‘Hollywood’ is not an idea, an amorphous institution – it is a collection of people with power who can decide to do better.”

Last week, a statement signed by more than 1,000 well-known figures including John Legend and Ava DuVernay was released by Black Artists for Freedom calling for an end to racial inequality and urging cultural institutions to “break ties with police.”

Nehal is an award-winning news presenter, author of "A Kids Book About Kindness Online" and founder of CelebrityKind. She has dedicated her career to creating connected and healthy spaces in the media. When she's not writing, you'll find Nehal hanging with family, dancing to Beyoncé, interpreting Taylor Swift lyrics or watching old eps of Oprah.

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