Michael B. Jordan says Hollywood insiders "need to go on notice," as the calls for racial justice and equality grow louder.
The 33-year-old actor delivered a passionate speech Saturday during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Los Angeles. Jordan began by recalling some of his most memorable movie roles and how they each taught him something new about race relations. He touched on his work in Black Panther, Fruitvale Station, Fahrenheit 451, and Just Mercy; the latter of which saw him portray famed social justice activist/attorney Bryan Stevenson.
"I learned his tactics. I learned his mentality," Jordan said about his Just Mercy role. "I learned his approach to things. Very calm. Very strategic. Very thoughtful. You have to be proximal. You have to be close to [the] issues."
He continued, "We have to be close to the issues. That is why I love everyone out here because we have to be here together. Shoulder to shoulder."
Jordan went on to speak about the ways his production team prioritized inclusion, but made it clear that more had to be done. The actor then took Hollywood figures to task, demanding them to up their diversity efforts, "invest in black staff," and hire private security rather than police.
"We are in the heart of Hollywood right now, one of the world’s most powerful industries and I am an active member of that. And they need to go on notice," he said. "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. I use my power to demand diversity but it's time that studios and agencies … do so."
"You committed to a 50/50 gender parity in 2020, where is the challenge to commit to black hiring? Black content, led by black executives, black consultants … So let us bring our darkness to the light? We're done with discrimination," he added.
You can watch Jordan's full speech below.
The demonstration—organized by the Big 4 agencies: ICM Partners, CAA, UTA, and WME—was billed as a peaceful protest against police brutality and in "support for #8CantWait and the #BlackLivesMatter movement." Other key speakers included Dr. Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of the BLM Los Angeles chapter as well as Insecure star Kendrick Sampson.
"I want you to spread the word, this is factual: The police system that we know today is based on slave-catching," Sampson said during his call to defund the police. "... The policing system started with a bad seed. It has grown a bad tree and it bears bad fruit ... We need to imagine a world free of police terror. We call ourselves an industry of creatives. Where the fuck is your imagination?"
Protest against racism and police violence have broken out across the country over the last two weeks, following the police killing of George Floyd. Rapper YG will join the movement this weekend by leading a march on Sunday in L.A. with Black Lives Matter and BLD PWR.
"We bout to do this shit right way. Come out tomorrow," he captioned the march's flier. "Let’s do it for our city."