In a Rare Show of Solidarity, Competing Hollywood Heavyweights Join Forces in Support of Black Lives

Illustration for article titled In a Rare Show of Solidarity, Competing Hollywood Heavyweights Join Forces in Support of Black Lives
Screenshot: Netflix (Twitter)

In the outcries following the now-countless incidents of police violence upon black America, what is often most deafening is the silence—from non-black friends, influencers, politicians and, perhaps most importantly, from those who have the kind of massive platforms that actually reach into American homes and sway public opinion.

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The viral video of the murder of George Floyd has wrought one of the most vocal responses in recent history—and the unprecedented alignment of some of the biggest entities in entertainment, which are publicly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and various social justice organizations via their social media pages and responding to each other with messages of solidarity.

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As reported by Variety:

In an unusual move, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Starz and other major Hollywood players are using their corporate social media accounts to take a stand and support the Black Lives Matter movement amid the ongoing nationwide protests decrying the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers. Meanwhile, CEO of ViacomCBS-owned Paramount Jim Gianopulos sent an internal memo to employees, expressing that “Too many members of the Black community have had their breath stolen from them through racial injustice.”

It’s an encouraging statement of anti-racism, but what we don’t know is if the powerful public stance of these multibillion-dollar entertainment conglomerates is being bolstered by any financial support to Black Lives Matter or any other justice organizations. And while we recognize a probable loss of (racist) subscribers will ensue, like sports juggernaut Nike, who backed Colin Kaepernick’s right to kneel and has also shown their support in the current crisis with a new ad titled “Until We All Win,” the calculated risk of taking a political stance may ultimately be accompanied by a large payoff. As such, the networks’ well-meaning statements of support prompted questions and concerns about how they consistently support black lives outside of a national racial crisis.

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The questions are valid. So too is the united front created by some of the entertainment industry’s most influential entities in support of the fight for black lives. We maintain that one can hold these concerns concurrently and also hope this public stance manifests in more than a series of tweets—but nevertheless appreciate the solidarity of the message.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

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DISCUSSION

iwontlosethisone
TheNotoriousBialy

The public responses to these posts are important. When we debate at my large company about posting something like these brands to show solidarity, we have to ask what our response would be to a rhetorical challenge about what we’re actually doing other than attempting to empathize. There is a lot of awkward silence but it’s good that we are at least at the point where people get that this version of thoughts and prayers isn’t worth much and we have to show intent and action. This type of pressure to either be more socially responsible or be irrelevant wouldn’t have existed for marketers even a few years ago. Fear of an unanswerable reply is literally getting checks written where they wouldn’t otherwise have been.