Kendrick Sampson demands Hollywood divest from police in open letter

The letter calls out Hollywood and mainstream media for contributing to the 'criminalization of Black people.'

(Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for the Celebration of Black Cinema)

Kendrick Sampson has added his voice to the chorus of Black artists who are calling on creative industries to cut ties with the police. 

The Insecure actor teamed with Tessa Thompson and Black Lives Matter co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Melina Abdullah to pen a passionate letter to “our allies in Hollywood,” urging the entertainment industry to invest in the Black community, Entertainment Tonight reports. The message comes amid the ongoing civil unrest over police brutality and racial injustice.

“Hollywood has a privilege as a creative industry to imagine and create. We have significant influence over culture and politics,” Sampson writes. “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.”

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The letter goes on to note that “Hollywood and mainstream media have contributed to the criminalization of Black people.”

Sampson and his co-authors believe “the misrepresentation of the legal system, and the glorification of police corruption and violence has had dire consequences on Black lives,” the letter states. 

The group accuses Hollywood of pumping out “violent” stories that “demonize our mental.”

“These stories contribute to the killings of Black people like Deborah Danner, who was murdered by NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry,” he writes.

“It also includes the perpetuation of transphobic stories which are used to justify the murder of Tony McDade in Florida, Nina Pop in Missouri, Dominique Fells in Philadelphia, and Riah Milton in Ohio,” Sampson adds. 

“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 letter states. 

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The call for action was reportedly signed by three hundred Black artists and executives including Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Issa Rae, Anthony Mackie, Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Danai Gurira, Idris Elba and more. 

The letter follows the petition from the Black Artists for Freedom coalition, demanding that the film, fashion, music industries “break ties with the police.”

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