Editor’s Note: Whether on screen or off, Hollywood can always be counted on to keep us entertained. This is especially true when it comes to politics. Join us each week as we shine the spotlight on Tinsel Town’s A-listers and their whacky and sometimes inspiring takes on today’s current events.
Hollywood 4 Black Lives
Keeping true to its nature, Hollywood has stepped into the political arena again, this time with Hollywood 4 Black Lives. Like the Black Lives Matter group at CHOP in Seattle, WA, this group also has a set of demands for Tinsel Town to be more inclusive of the black community.
Founded by actor Kendrick Sampson, known for his roles in Vampire Diaries, How to Get Away with Murder, Supernatural, and White Famous, the organization claims the film industry is sorely lacking in racial equality and the market is vastly dominated by white people. In a letter to Hollywood, it claimed 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.”
It continued by saying, “People use these stories to justify the killings of Black people” and then listed several victims, including George Floyd. “The lack of a true commitment to inclusion and institutional support has only reinforced Hollywood’s legacy of white supremacy,” the letter went on to say. The group alleges that Black-led films and television have reduced budgets and inadequate marketing campaigns, further stating:
“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.”
Claiming to suffer from oppression brought on by the industry, Hollywood 4 Black Lives published a list of demands.
Divest from Police
Just as the protests running amok around the nation, this group wants police to stay away from their sets and events. Instead, it suggests using unionized private security officers, but only “if they drop their ties with police unions.” Los Angeles, CA city council, mayor, and the state’s governor need to move jurisdiction for permits away from police and follow the outline of Black Lives Matter regarding reducing the law enforcement budget and to “invest in Black communities based on the model outlined at PeoplesBudgetLA.com.”
Divest from Anti-Black Content
They also require that Tinsel Town “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
To accomplish this, the organization wants all major studios to have “multiple” black senior executives with “budget authority and greenlighting power.” Black people of power would be able to dissect a film or production first to make sure it tells an appropriate story and promotes the correct message and image of the community.
The list of demands goes on. They want investment and contracts with black-owned businesses and more black management. A task force to monitor racism and discrimination must be created. This task force would be comprised of “Black trans, queer and gender non-binary people and make bold moves toward their specific, substantial protections.”
And in other news, a protest against the intended reopening of Disneyland in July is planned for Saturday, June 26. The Coalition of Resort Labor Unions represents approximately 17,000 service members and is comprised of several Disneyland Unions. In a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, it objected to the planned return to business out of fear for employees and park-goers safety. Participators have scheduled a caravan to circle the resort “as an action to show our concerns regarding safety.”
A spokesperson for the park, however, said intensified safety precautions are being discussed and implemented as part of the reopening. This would include temperature checks for guests upon entering, adjusting theme park rides and attractions to accommodate physical distancing, and requiring anyone over the age of two to wear masks.
Tune in next week to see what else Tinsel Town has planned.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.