Entertainment

Black artists call on Hollywood to 'divest in the police, invest in anti-racist content'

More than 300 Black actors and filmmakers, including Idris Elba, Queen Latifah and Billy Porter, on Tuesday asked Hollywood to divest in the police and invest in anti-racist content.

'Because Hollywood has been a huge part of the problem, we demand it be a part of the solution'

More than 300 Black actors and filmmakers signed an open letter calling on Hollywood to divest in the police and invest in anti-racist content. (Hollywood 4 Black Lives)

More than 300 Black actors and filmmakers, including Idris Elba, Queen Latifah and Billy Porter, on Tuesday asked Hollywood to divest in the police and invest in anti-racist content.

An open letter addressed to "Our Allies in Hollywood" attacked what it called the industry's "legacy of white supremacy" and said Hollywood "encourages the epidemic of police violence and culture of anti-Blackness."

The letter, organized by the group Hollywood 4 Black Lives, was written in the midst of a cultural and political reckoning about systemic racism and mass protests about the killing of Black people by police.

Specific demands included abolishing the employment of police officers on sets and putting pressure on Los Angeles city authorities to reduce budgets for policing.

"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," the letter says.

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

The group called on the movie and television industry to "end the intentional glorification of police brutality and corruption in our storytelling" and for studios to employ more Black people with executive, budget and green lighting powers.

Long-running police TV shows Live PD and Cops were cancelled earlier this month.

Multiple celebrities, including talk show hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon, and 30 Rock creator Tina Fey have issued public apologies for wearing blackface or depicting white characters made up as Black people.

"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," Tuesday's letter said.

According to a report on diversity in Hollywood published in February by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), people of colour took 27.6 per cent of lead roles in top films for 2019, almost triple the percentage in 2011.

Heads of movie studios were 91 per cent white and 82 per cent male, according to the UCLA report.

Signatories to Tuesday's letter included campaign groups Black Lives Matter and Color of Change, as well as actors Viola Davis, Tiffany Haddish, Janelle Monae, Mahershala Ali, Laverne Cox, Cynthia Erivo and Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman.

now