Ryan Coogler, whose excellent Creed masterfully reinvented the Rocky saga but was largely ignored at this year's Oscars, is now set to throw a free star-stacked event for the victims of the ongoing Flint water crisis on the same night as the controversial awards ceremony. "With the #JUSTICEFORFLINT benefit event we will give a voice to the members of the community who were the victims of the choices of people in power who are paid to protect them," Coogler told BuzzFeed News when announcing the event. According to Coogler, the event is aimed at gifting Flint victims with "a night of entertainment, unity, and emotional healing."
The event, presented by Coogler’s own Blackout for Human Rights activism group, is set for the Whiting Auditorium on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. ET. REVOLT will take over livestreaming duties, with donations being accepted both via text and in person at the event. Local residents will be invited to share their stories of relentless struggle with the worldwide audience, a struggle apparently deemed inconsequential by regional government for nearly two years without proper action being taken.
Coogler will be joined by Janelle Monae, Jesse Williams (Grey's Anatomy), Ava DuVernay (Selma), and many others for the awareness-raising event. Hannibal Buress, who recently signed on to join The Rock and Zac Efron in that forthcoming Baywatch reboot, will be the evening's MC. The event, says Coogler, coincidentally landed on the same day as the Oscars ceremony due to the fact that it's the last weekend of Black History Month and #JUSTICEFORFLINT was only just conceived during Blackout for Human Rights' recent Martin Luther King Jr. Day event.
As the fallout surrounding Flint's knowingly poisoned water supply continues, including the ongoing release of Governor Rick Snyder's emails, the daunting task of rebuilding confidence in the city's water supply is still taking shape. "People won't buy homes or even feel comfortable in our restaurants until every lead service line is removed," Mayor Karen Weaver tells ABC News, citing a University of Michigan-Flint professor's estimate that the city currently has more than 8,000 lead pipes used for water passage. "This is an important step toward returning confidence in government."