Michael B. Jordan delivered a passionate speech during a Los Angeles Black Lives Matter rally on Saturday, in which he urged Hollywood executives to “commit to black hiring.”
“You committed to a 50/50 gender parity in 2020, where is the challenge to commit to black hiring?" he asked. "Black content led by black executives, black consultants. Are you policing our storytelling as well? Let us bring our darkness to the light."
The Black Panther star has been committed to making the entertainment industry more diverse, announcing in 2018 that his company Outlier Society Productions would adopt inclusion riders for all upcoming projects. An inclusion rider refers to a clause in an actor’s contract that allows them to set the diversity requirements for a cast and crew before signing on to a production. The concept was introduced during Frances McDormand’s Best Actress Oscar speech the same year. But in his address, Jordan expressed his belief that “it has to go beyond that.”
“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 added. “I use my power to demand diversity but it’s time that studios and agencies do so.”
The 33-year-old, who was joined by Insecure actor Kendrick Sampson at the protest held in Century City, added that the fight for inclusion must continue beyond the recent gatherings that have swept the nation in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.
“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.”
Jordan’s breakout film role was in Ryan Coogler’s 2013 drama Fruitvale Station, which chronicles the final days of Oscar Grant, an unarmed black man who was killed by an Oakland, Calif., police officer in 2009.
The Just Mercy actor's plea for inclusivity comes after Josh Trank, who directed him in 2015’s Fantastic Four, claimed in a recent interview that studio heads shut down his attempts to cast a black actress in the role of Sue Storm.
To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
- Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
- Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.