The open letter is penned by ‘Insecure’ star Kendrick Sampson, and is developed by Tessa Thompson along with Black Lives Matter co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Melina Abdullah.
The “Insecure” castmember was among the Black Lives Matter protesters to take to the streets of Los Angeles last month (May), demanding an end to racial and social injustice days after George Floyd was murdered by a white cop in Minnesota.
Sampson was left bloody and bruised after authorities fired rubber bullets at the demonstrators, and now, together with “Avengers: Endgame” star Tessa Thompson and Black Lives Matter co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Melina Abdullah, he is calling for Hollywood studio executives and other industry leaders to cut all business ties with police forces, and instead invest more in stories about, and created by, black artists.
The open letter, published on Variety.com, begins, “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 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 have had dire consequences on Black lives…”
“We must end the exaltation of officers and agents that are brutal and act outside of the law as heroes. These portrayals encourage cops like Derek Chauvin, the murderer of George Floyd.”
“The lack of a true commitment to inclusion and institutional support has only reinforced Hollywood’s legacy of white supremacy,” it continues. “This is not only in storytelling. It is cultural and systemic in Hollywood.”
The powerful missive goes on to outline ways in which Hollywood leaders can really make a change, such as barring police from sets and events, including as security, appointing more black executives to leadership roles, and investing in anti-racist content, and boasts signatures from over 300 black artists and industry officials, including Washington, Davis, Elba, Angela Bassett, Tiffany Haddish, Thandie Newton, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Kravitz, Yara Shahidi, Cynthia Erivo, Issa Rae, and Billy Porter.
The note adds, “Because Hollywood has been a huge part of the problem, we demand it be a part of the solution.”
“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.”