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Kendrick Sampson Pens Letter to Hollywood Calling for Police Divestment, Over 300 Black Creators Sign

Kendrick Sampson speaks during the YG x BLMLA x BLDPWR protest and march June 07, 2020, in Los Angeles, California.
Kendrick Sampson speaks during the YG x BLMLA x BLDPWR protest and march June 07, 2020, in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Rich Fury (Getty Images)

In the movement toward police defunding and abolition, it looks like Black Hollywood is speaking up.

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In a letter shared with Variety, actor Kendrick Sampson (Insecure, Miss Juneteenth) called for the mainstream Hollywood industry “to divest from the police and invest in the Black community” and was joined by several organizations, black artists and black execs.

“The way that Hollywood and mainstream media have contributed to the criminalization of Black people, the misrepresentation of the legal system, and the glorification of police corruption and violence has had dire consequences on Black lives. This includes stories that demonize our mental health as violent,” Sampson wrote in the letter directed to Hollywood allies.

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

Highlighted in the list of demands (full list at BLDPWR.com):

DIVEST FROM POLICE

DIVEST FROM ANTI-BLACK CONTENT

INVEST IN OUR CAREERS

INVEST IN ANTI-RACIST CONTENT

INVEST IN OUR COMMUNITY

Along with BLD PWR (founded by Sampson), Movement for Black Lives, Color Of Change, Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, People’s Budget LA Coalition, National Black Justice Coalition and NAACP Hollywood Bureau, several leading celebrities signed the letter, including Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Viola Davis, Idris Elba, Issa Rae, Tessa Thompson, Alfre Woodard, Lena Waithe, Sterling K. Brown, Tiffany Haddish, Yara Shahidi and many more.

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Black Hollywood has made its mission loud and clear. Hollywood, are you listening?

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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