Black culture leaders call to end racial injustice in letter

Entertainment News
Ava DuVernay

FILE – In this Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, file photo, Ava DuVernay speaks at the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Cherish the Day” series panel during the Discovery Network TCA 2020 Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif. John Legend, Gabrielle Union and Ava DuVernay are some of the many black cultural leaders who have signed a letter to fight against racism, promote equal pay and ask industries to disassociate from police. The letter was released Friday, June 19, 2020 by a new organization called the Black Artists for Freedom, which describes itself as a collective of black workers in the culture industries. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — John Legend, Gabrielle Union and Ava DuVernay are some of the many black cultural leaders who have signed a letter to fight against racism, promote equal pay and ask industries to disassociate from police.

The letter was released Friday by a new organization called the Black Artists for Freedom, which describes itself as a collective of black workers in the culture industries. The letter was published to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday that long commemorated the emancipation of enslaved African Americans.

The organization said the letter was inspired by the recent protests against police brutality and systemic racism.

“They are working in the spirit of the Black Radical Tradition to reclaim our freedoms,” the letter said. “Their courage and imagination have inspired us to build on their necessary demands including chiefly, the abolition of police and the complete dismantling of the racist prison-industrial system.”

The letter included signatures from black workers in film, television, music, publishing, theater, journalism and education. It had a list of prominent names such as Sterling K. Brown, Lupita Nyong’o, Janelle Monae, Lena Waithe, Barry Jenkins, Lee Daniels and Tessa Thompson.

“No more stereotypes,” the letter read. “No more tokenism. No more superficial diversity. No longer will we watch Black culture be contorted into a vehicle for self-congratulation, complacency, guilt relief, experiential tourism, fetishism, appropriation and theft.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.