The "Black Panther" star calls for Hollywood to follow up its commitment to 50/50 gender parity with a commitment to "black hiring" at all levels of the film-making process during an impassioned speech at a Black Lives Matter protest on Saturday.
Michael B. Jordan called on Hollywood to see the Black Lives Matter movement as a moment to affect change in the industry on the same scale they've been implementing it since #MeToo caused it to take a good, hard look at gender issues.
"You committed to a 50/50 gender parity in 2020," he said during an impassioned speech at a BLM protest in Century City on Saturday. "Where is the challenge to commit to black hiring? Black content led by black executives, black consultants."
And just as there has been a call for female voices in the arts to express their stories, rather than conform to the male perspective (and gaze), Brown challenged Hollywood to let black voices tell their stories, adding, "Are you policing our storytelling as well? Let us bring our darkness to the light."
"Anybody that deals with me, if you have racist beliefs, if you have a racist bone in your body, if you're not with me, if you don't stand with me and people that look like me, you don't need to be with me," he said. "I use my power to demand diversity but it's time that studios and agencies … do so."
He spoke about how his own production company has an "inclusion rider," but that's simply not enough, calling on all the companies and brands he works with to follow his lead and hire people of color. He also suggested they work with private security companies over local law enforcement, when needed.
The gathering was one of many spread across the nation as a second weekend of protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing at the knee of a former Minneapolis police officer while being detained for a suspected fake $20 bill.
Jordan also urged protesters to keep the flames of change burning, even after all four officers involved in Floyd's murder have been arrested and are currently facing charges from 2nd-degree murder and manslaughter to aiding and abetting in that murder.
"What we are doing today will make our values heard and our voices heard. We've got to keep agitating things," he said. "We can't be complacent. We can't let this moment just pass us by, we have to continue to put our foot on their necks."
He concluded his fiery speech by telling the assembled crowd, "We're done with discrimination."
The acclaimed actor has long been an activist for racial justice and equality and has even chosen roles that help spread awareness of the ongoing problem in this country, as evidenced by his star-turning role in "Fruitvale Station" in 2013 as the victim of a crime and his take as an attorney seeking justice for a black man wrongly incarcerated in 2019's "Just Mercy."
In response to the ongoing unrest, Warner Bros. last week made "Just Mercy" available for free (digital rental) through the month of June. The best tool we have to fight discrimination, racism, sexism and all other forms of needless hate is education and awareness.
And the vote, of course, which allows citizens to have themselves represented in government by people who share their views. Jordan urged all protesters to remember this powerful tool in the fight against systemic racism when November comes around.