Art has always been a form of activism, which is why it’s been so important for Black artists to take a stand and join the people–an act we’ve been seeing a lot of as of late. And media makers Ava DuVernay and Ryan Coogler are no exception.
Joined by other Black celebrities, they have lent their voices to Blackout for Human Rights‘ new video series “#MyLifeMatters,” which commemorates the victims of police brutality and state-sanctioned violence. Each moving and emotional video features a celebrity recounting their life accomplishments and how if their lives had been unjustly taken away, they never would have achieved them.
Volume 1, features Coogler and actor David Oyelowo.
“When I was 23 years old, I was able to take one of my films to France, went and got a passport, left the country for the first time. It really changed me a lot,” Coogler says in the video. “None of those things would have been possible if, when I was twelve years old…I was shot and killed by police on the spot before I even had a chance to put my hands up, like Tamir Rice.”
Volume 2, features LaLa Anthony, Ava Duvernay, Common and Mara Brock Akil. DuVernay’s segment recalls screening Oscar-nominated Selma for the first time at The White House.
“I would have never had the opportunity to write and direct the first major picture centered on the life of Martin Luther King…and then [screen] it at the White House in front of President Obama and the First Lady,” she said.
She then honored Tanisha Anderson, a 37-year old Cleveland woman who was tasered by police officers who watched her die on the ground. “Tanisha Anderson’s life mattered, just like my life matters,” DuVernay stressed.
Volume 3 features Andre Holland, Will Packer, Erica Tazel and Boris Kodjoe:
Just think about all the promise, joy and greatness we lose out on when Black lives are cut too short.
The videos were also released in solidarity with The Movement for Black Lives’ #FreedomNow campaign.