It’s no secret that there is a massive lack of diversity when it comes to the entertainment industry. A majority of actors and actresses are white, and Hollywood has a history of going so far as to cast white actors to play Black roles. But Hollywood is long overdue for reform.
On June 23, over 300 Black artists signed an open letter calling for Hollywood to address the prevalent racial inequality and discrimination many actors and actresses face. The letter is called Hollywood 4 Black Lives and was founded by Kendrick Sampson.
The letter comes at a pivotal time in history, where strides are finally being made to address the rampant racism and inequality our country still faces. Several actors and actresses have signed the letter and joined alongside Kendrick in the fight for equality, including Idris Elba, Viola Davis, Issa Rae, Zoë Kravitz, and Laverne Cox.
The letter starts as follows:
“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 letter then explains how Hollywood has contributed to the misrepresentation of Black people and the legal system. It states that Hollywood culture glorifies the police and violence that have ultimately had the most significant impact on Black people.
The letter demands 5 things from Hollywood:
- Divest from the police and commit to no police on sets
- Divest from anti-Black content and end the glorification of police brutality
- Invest in anti-racism content and require every studio to have a senior-level Black executive
- Invest in our careers and ensure there is support for Black agents and managers
- Invest in our community and expand workplace safety efforts and invest in Black-owned businesses.
The letter is powerful and moving, and real change needs to happen. It finishes with:
“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.”