To our allies in Hollywood,

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. This includes stories that demonize our mental health as violent.  People use these stories to justify the killings of Black people like Deborah Danner, who was murdered by NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry.  It also includes the perpetuation of transphobic stories that people use to justify the murder of Tony McDade in Florida, Nina Pop in Missouri, Dominique Fells, in Philadelphia, and Riah Milton in Ohio.  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. This is not only in storytelling.  It is cultural and systemic in Hollywood. Our agencies, which often serve as industry gatekeepers, don’t recruit, retain or support Black agents. Our unions don’t consider or defend our specific, intersectional struggles.  Unions are even worse for our below-the-line crew, especially for Black women.  Hollywood studios and production companies that exploit and profit from our stories rarely have any senior-level Black executives with greenlighting power.

Even with the recent successes of Black-led and produced films and television, myths of limited international sales and lack of universality of Black-led stories are used to reduce our content to smaller budgets and inadequate marketing campaigns. White people make up the smallest racial demographic globally, yet their stories are seen as internationally universal.  When we do get the rare chance to tell our stories, our development, production, distribution, and marketing processes are often marred, filtered, and manipulated by the white gaze.

Due to Hollywood’s immense influence over politics and culture, all of the racism, discrimination and glass ceilings Black people in Hollywood experience on a regular basis have direct implications on Black lives everywhere.

Every time a Black executive or assistant is passed over for a promotion, or the marketing or production budget for another Black led film is limited, or when Black agents aren’t supported, Black writers are shut out, outnumbered or diminished, Black hair stylists are neglected, Black grips, gaffers, and camera assistants and operators are shut out of below the line unions – EVERY SINGLE TIME – this gives us less control over our narratives, continues the legacy of white supremacy’s influence over our stories and makes Black people in Hollywood and all over America less safe.

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.  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.

We demand better. 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 Black community.

WE DEMAND THAT HOLLYWOOD

DIVEST FROM POLICE

  • Commit to no police on sets or events or for any other purposes. For security, we can use private unionized security officers from SEIU-USWW – if they drop their ties with police unions*.
    • Pressure Los Angeles City Council and Mayor Garcetti and Governor Newsom (and any applicable shooting location) to move jurisdiction for permits and traffic coordination to the City, County or State offices (instead of police, sheriff or CHP) and to reduce its spending on police according to the outline that Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles and PeoplesBudgetLA.com
    • Pressure every state, county and city from which Hollywood benefits from tax rebates to divest from police, invest in Black communities based on the model outlined at PeoplesBudgetLA.com

DIVEST FROM ANTI-BLACK CONTENT

  • End the intentional glorification of police brutality and corruption in our storytelling and all content that dehumanizes or criminalizes Black people (cis, trans, queer, and mentally ill) and/or champions abuse by law enforcement.

INVEST IN ANTI-RACIST CONTENT

  • Every major studio should have multiple senior level Black executives with budget authority and greenlighting power.
  • Invest in developing, producing and distributing anti-racist content that humanizes and advances nuanced portrayals of Black people.
  • Financial comp systems and marketing budgets for Black content should go through regular implicit bias reviews and consultation to ensure that Black stories are given adequate support. Empower Black executives to determine the value and authenticity of Black stories.
  • Hire culturally competent social justice consultants to inform projects from development through distribution to help identify conscious and unconscious bias and prevent racist, anti-Black LGBTQIA+ and other culturally insensitive portrayals of Black people.
  • Create a system of public disclosure for anti-racist efforts.  

INVEST IN OUR CAREERS

  • Every agency and management company should have Black partners and board members and provide substantial support for its Black agents and managers [cisgender and trans]
  • Every Hollywood institution should have a system of recruitment and ongoing support of Black professionals [cisgender and trans] in every department with clear paths to promotion all the way up to the highest senior levels and boards.
    • Unions – including above-the-line (SAG, WGA and DGA) and especially below-the-line (IATSE, Teamsters etc) – must reconcile with their racist and discriminatory practices while actively recruiting and creating opportunities and protections internally and externally for Black (cis and trans) employees, execs and membership – talent, crew, department heads, background performers, hair and make up, camera operators etc. to increase their Black membership and leadership to a point that is at least reflective of the Black share of the population.
  • Every studio and production company should adopt the inclusion rider as their inclusion policy.

INVEST IN OUR COMMUNITY

  • Every union must expand their accountability of workplace safety to include racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, bi-phobia and other related biases and attacks and create antiracism task forces with substantial power to hold studios and production companies accountable and include specific intersectional protections in our negotiations.
    • The task force should have a senior level Black executive and anti-racism experts and be reflective and representative of the gender, age, ability and identity diversity within the Black community.
    • The task force should include Black trans, queer and gender non-binary people and make bold moves toward their specific, substantial protections.
  • Invest in and contract with Black-owned and Black-led businesses (catering, PR etc), especially for services in sectors that have traditionally excluded Black people.
  • Consult with our coalition and organizers throughout implementation. 

We know these changes have the power to change Black lives in America.  It is time for Hollywood to acknowledge its role and take on the responsibility of repairing the damage and being a proactive part of the change.

In light of continued systemic, brutal murders of Black people, members of the Black community in Hollywood are standing together with the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of community-based organizations from all over the country including Black Lives Matter, and with the families and loved ones of George Floyd,  Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Kenneth Ross Jr, Wakeisha Wilson, Rayshard Brooks and countless others in the movement to Defund Police and Defend Black Lives.

Signed,

BLD PWR
Movement for Black Lives
Color Of Change
Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles
Women of Color Unite
People’s Budget LA Coalition
National Black Justice
Coalition
NAACP Hollywood Bureau
Patrisse Cullors
Melina Abdullah
Zoe Saldana
Zoë Kravitz
Zakiyyah Alexander
Yvette Lee Bowser
Yvette Nicole Brown
Yemi Adegbonmire, Esq.
Yazmin Monet Watkins
Yara Shahidi
Y’lan Noel
Woody McClain
Viola Davis
Trevite Willis
Travon Free
Trai Byers
Toni Trucks
Tone Bell
Tirsa Hackshaw
Tika Sumpter
Tiffany Smith
Tiffany Haddish
Thembi L. Banks
Thandie Newton
Teyonah Parris
Tessa Thompson
Tesia Walker
Terilyn A. Shropshire
Tarell Alvin McCraney
Taraji P. Henson
Tanya Hamilton
Tamara-Lee Notcutt
Talitha Watkins
Sydney Park
Susan Kelechi Watson
Sterling K. Brown
Stephen Love
Stephanie Lilly Smith
Stephanie Allain
Stacey Walker King
Stacey Evans Morgan
Sinqua Walls
Sidra Smith
Shiona Turini
Shihan Van Clief
Sheryl Lee Ralph
Sheronna Osbourne
Shernold Edwards
Shelby Stone
Shari B. Ellis
Shana C. Waterman
Shakim Compere
Seana Johnson
Sanaa Lathan
Sanaa Hamri
Sam Richardson
Salli Richardson
Salim Akil
Safia M. Dirie
Ruth Carter
Roxy Sternberg
Rosario Dawson
Rochée Jeffrey
Rodney Evans
Robin Thede
Rob Maylor
Resheida Brady
Rick Famuyiwa
Reggie Rock Bythewood
Randy McKinnon
Rachel Watanabe-Batton
Quinta Brunson
Queensylvia Akuchie
Queen Latifah
Prince Baggett
Poppy Hanks
Pete Chatmon
Paula Patton
Paige Simpson
Octavia Spencer
Obehi Janice

Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine
Nnamdi Asomugha
Nkechi Okoro Carroll
Njeri Brown
Nijla Baseema Mu’min
Nick Alexander
Nicole Dow
Nicci Freeman
Nicole Beharie
Nichelle Tramble Spellman
Nia DaCosta
Neema Barnette
Natasha Rothwell
Natascha Hopkins
Naomie Harris
Naomi Ekperigin
Monique Lauren Peters
Moira Griffin
Mo McRae
Millicent Shelton
Michelynn Woodard
Michelle Lyte
Michelle Amor
Michael Moore
Melvin Gregg
Melina Matsoukas
Mel Jones
Mekhi Phifer
Megalyn Echikunwoke
Meagan Good
Mikael Moore
Matthew Cherry
Marissa Jo Cerar
Margaret Odette
Marc Bernardin
Mara Brock Akil
Malcolm D Lee
Malcolm Barrett
Mahershala Ali
MACRO
Luke James
Lorna Osunsanmi
Logan Browning
Liesl Tommy
Leslie Odom Jr.
Lena Waithe
Leander Sales
Leah Natasha Thomas
Leah Daniels-Butler
Laverne Cox
Lauren McBride
Laura Harrier
Larenz Tate
Lamont Magee
Lamman Rucker
La La Anthony
Kristina E. Taylor
Kriss Turner Towner
Kimberly Ndombe
Kimberly Hébert
Kim Coleman
KiKi Layne
Kiersey Clemons
Kibi Anderson
Khaliah Neal
Kerry Washington
Kendrick Sampson
Kemp Powers
Kelly McCreary
Keith Powers
Kay Oyegun
Kat Graham
Kasi Lemmons
Karin Gist
Karen Frost
Kady Kamakaté
J. Robinson
Justin Simien
Justina Omokhua
Jurnee Smollett
Julie Dash
Josh Kadish
Jonathan Grace
Jon Michael Hill
Joi McMillon
John Meigs
Joe Robert Cole
Jodie Turner-Smith
Jocelyn Bioh
Jessica Williams
Jesse Collins

Jermaine Johnson
Jeremy Pope
Jeremy O’Harris
Jelani Johnson
Jeannette Linton
Jeannette Francis
Jeannae Rouzan
Jean Elie
Jay Ellis
Janine Nabers
Janicza Bravo
Janet Mock
Janelle Monáe
James Lopez
James D. Wilcox
James Cheeks III
Jade-Addon Hall
Jacque Edmonds Cofer
J. August Richards
Issa Rae
Inuka Bacote-Capiga
Ihuoma Ofordire
Idris Elba
Huriyyah Muhammad
Holly Walker
Hanelle M. Culpepper
Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Grantham Coleman
Grace Byers
Glenn Davis
Gina Prince-Bythewood
Gina Atwater
Geoffrey Thorn
Gabrielle Glore
Franki Butler
Felischa Marye
Felicia Pride
Felicia D. Henderson
Fatmata Kamara
Etienne Maurice
Ernest Leif Boyd
Erika L. Johnson
Emmy Raver-Lampan
Ekwa Msangi
Effie T. Brown
Edwin Hodge
Edward Enninful
Ebony Gilbert
Dyllón Burnside
Dondre’ T. Whitfield
Dominique Morisseau
Dionne Harmon
Dianne Bartlow
DeWanda Wise
DeVon Franklin
Deric A. Hughes
Derek Dudley
Denyce Lawton
Denée Benton
DeMane Davis
Dee Rees
Debra Martin Chase
Dayna Lynne North
Davita Scarlett
David Oyelowo
Daveed Diggs
Darren Anthony
Danielle Brooks
Danai Gurira
Dana Gills
Dahéli Hall
D’Kia Anderson
D.K. Uzoukwu
Cynthia Erivo
Cynthia Adarkwa
Craig Hayes
Cornelius Smith, Jr.
Corey Martin
Corey Hawkins
Common
Colman Domingo
Cindy Agi
Chinonye Chukwu
Chiké Okonkwo
Cheo Hodari Coker
Cheryl L. Bedford

Chelsea Tavares
Chelsea McKinnies
Charlese Antoinette
Charles D. King
Charles D. Holland
Charla Lauriston
Chadwick Boseman
Cela Sutton
Cedric Sanders
Cassandra Freeman
Carly Hughes
Candace Stewart
Candace J. Rodney
Brook Sitgraves Turner
Brittany Grooms
Britt Matt
Brian Tyree Henry
Brandon Lawrence
Brandon Harris
Brandon Bell
Bozoma Saint John
Boots Riley
Bobbi Banks
Black Employees of A24
Billy Porter
Bianca Samms
Benjamin Carlton
Ayoka Chenzira
Avril Z. Speaks
Aurin Squire
Ato Essandoh
Ashley Blaine Featherson
Arron Saxe
Antoinette Messam
Anthony Mackie
Anthony Hemingway
Anna Diop
Anita Surendran
Angela White
Angela Nissel
Angela Harvey
Angela Bassett
Angela Amoako
Angel Kristi Williams
Andrew J. Horne
Andrew C. Coles
Andrew “King Bach” Bachelor
Andrea Nelson Meigs
Andre Royo
André Des Rochers
Amy Aniobi
Amanda Idoko
Alyssa Lanz
Alfre Woodard
Aldis Hodge
Alano Miller
Akela Cooper
Aisha Hinds
Aiah Samba
Ahmir ?uestlove Thompson
Adrienne Warren
Adrienne Carter
Adam Countee

HOLLYWOOD 4 BLACK LIVES