CAA to share a PSA that ‘All Black Lives Matter’
Creative Artists Agency will roll out a video public service announcement on Friday highlighting the need for action rather than words amid protests over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
The video, which features a group of Black stars and agency clients, including Jamie Foxx, Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade, will.i.am and Janet Mock, among others, was previewed during a virtual CAA Amplify town hall Thursday.
After a montage from the speakers talking about how people who consume Black culture should also respect Black lives, the video showed the message “All Black Lives Matter” that was written on Hollywood Boulevard.
“It’s not enough to just say Black Lives Matter, it’s time you show it,” Gabrielle Union and “Pose” director Janet Mock said in the video.
The PSA was produced by CAA’s new cultural strategy and creative group, CAA AMP, founded by Wade. It is “a heartfelt plea to the entertainment world and its fans in the wake of today’s racial awakening” and aims to provide “an inspiring entry into the conversation around social justice,” according to a statement from CAA.
In the wake of the killing of Floyd, an unarmed Black man, several entertainment and media companies have confronted allegations of systemic racism over the lack of Black representation in their executive ranks. Some companies have committed funds to social justice groups and pledged to improve diversity.
“This is not a press release moment for you or your companies, all of our initiatives, CAA included, should be well thought out, with actionable items and tangible goals,” said Joe Hadley, a music agent with CAA, as he introduced the video. “We need real change, and that doesn’t just come from a social media post.”
The town hall was connected to CAA Amplify, an annual conference started in 2017 that aims to create multicultural opportunities with more than 90% of its speakers and attendees being people of color. This year, its first virtual conference came in the wake of protests across the country calling for an end to systemic racism.
The Times interviewed nearly two dozen Black entertainment industry voices, spanning directors, producers, writers, designers, agents and executives. They discussed racism in Hollywood, what needs to change and their frustration with years of talk and little action by powerful companies.
Speakers included, among others, “Grown-ish” actress Yara Shahidi; Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter; athletes Wade and Carmelo Anthony; and Christian Cooper, a man who went viral after a woman called the cops on him for asking her to leash her dog in Central Park.
Richard Lovett, the president of CAA, spoke on looking inward within his company and the need for collective action. He shared his personal realization that the protests were against, not just police brutality and direct racism, but the national system of white supremacy.
“We have to understand that this 400-year-old system is single-minded, determined and evil. We didn’t create it. I was born into it, and it seemed natural, and I enjoyed its benefits, and that makes me a little evil too,” Lovett said.
Several CAA executives called for everyone to vote as a first step, emphasizing the importance of local elections. CAA will give a half-day off on election day for its employees, and a full day off for employees who want to volunteer at local polls.
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