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Mayim Bialik, Tiffany Haddish, Billy Porter, more launch group to combat racism, anti-Semitism

David Oliver, USA TODAY
·3 min read
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More than 170 Black and Jewish entertainers, including Billy Porter, Sharon Osbourne, Mayim Bialik and Tiffany Haddish, are joining forces to combat racism and anti-Semitism.

The new organization, Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance (BJEA), launched Monday – the first day of Black History Month – as institutional racism and anti-Semitism remain rampant.

BJEA is releasing a unity statement as part of its launch, which will run in full-page ads in industry publications Variety and Billboard this week.

"The Jewish community must continue to speak out against racial injustice and work to effect change, while the Black community must continue to speak out against all forms of antisemitism," part of the unity statement reads. "In the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr., Rabbi Abraham Heschel, and the many Blacks and Jews who stood together in the fight for civil rights, we come together to support each other in the struggle against hatred and bigotry."

More than 170 Black and Jewish entertainers, including Billy Porter, Sharon Osbourne and Tiffany Haddish, are joining forces to combat racism and anti-Semitism.
More than 170 Black and Jewish entertainers, including Billy Porter, Sharon Osbourne and Tiffany Haddish, are joining forces to combat racism and anti-Semitism.

Bialik told USA TODAY in a statement: "The Black and Jewish communities have long been aligned and have fought side by side for justice. I was raised with my parents’ stories of protests and civil disobedience in the Civil Rights Movement – they saw it as a Jewish imperative to remember our legacy of once being slaves in Egypt; it is our duty to embrace those who also have struggled and continue to fight for justice."

"It's interesting being being a part of both (groups)," singer-songwriter Autumn Rowe, one of the signatories, tells USA TODAY. Rowe's father is Black and her mother is Jewish. "Sometimes when you're going through something yourself, it's hard to see what other people are going through."

The country is still grappling with the aftermath of the death of George Floyd last year, a Black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck. His death prompted sweeping, renewed calls and protests for racial justice. Anti-Semitic attacks have persisted and most millennials and Gen Zers seem to lack Holocaust education.

The organization hopes to put on events that showcase the Black and Jewish communities' fights against hate, and aims to elevate voices within the entertainment industry to better inform the public about the causes and effects of racism and anti-Semitism.

"This alliance will elevate voices in the entertainment community that can help the public to better understand the causes, manifestations, and effects of racism and antisemitism, ensuring that our industry is doing its part to be a voice for hope, unity, and healing in our country," Aaron Bay-Schuck, Co-Chairman and CEO of Warner Records, said in a statement.

One of the signatories is Nick Cannon, who received major backlash last summer after making anti-Semitic comments. He has since apologized.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tiffany Haddish, Mayim Bialik, more launch Black-Jewish alliance