Over 1000 artistes, including Tessa Thompson, Sterling K. Brown, Niecy Nash, Gabrielle Union, Trevor Noah, Ava DuVernay, Barry Jenkins, Lena Waithe, Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo and John Legend, have come together for the “Black Artists For Freedom” initiative with an aim to end racial injustice.
The group released a statement on June 19 on the occasion of Juneteenth, the day that marks the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. The statement called for all cultural institutions to make changes to contribute in eliminating racism, reports etcanada.com.
“The fact is plain: Black people are still not free. Day after day, generation upon generation, we are threatened, brutalised, and murdered by law enforcement and vigilantes. When we hear ‘I can’t breathe’, we hear the voices of our children, parents, brothers, sisters, cousins. We hear our elders and ancestors. We hear ourselves, some future day,” the statement read.
It continued: “The representation of Black people in the media has long been used to justify the violence against us. Racist stereotypes of Black criminality, monstrosity, unchecked rage, hyper-sexuality, immunity to pain, and so on, are still recycled today in books, films, and on the Internet. Consciously and unconsciously, these stereotypes are invoked — in everyday interactions and in courts of law — as reasons why Black people do not deserve human rights. We do not wish merely to modify or alleviate this racist culture. We aim to eliminate it.”
The statement comes as the protests in support to Black Lives Matter movement continue in the US following the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.