Black Entertainers Raise over $100,000 in #JusticeForFlint, an Oscars Alternative*
By Ricky Riley
While the bulk of Hollywood’s elite was at the Oscars, Black filmmakers, singers and entertainers gathered for the #JusticeforFlint fundraiser to raise over $100,000 for the city’s water crisis.
Organized by Creed director Ryan Coogler, the fundraiser has served as a response to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and the environmental racism that poisoned the water supply in the majority-Black Michigan community. The multi-year long mess has led to long-term health effects for residents, and it also highlighted political corruption in the highest branches of the Michigan state government.
The #JusticeForFlint event was part of Coogler’s Black Out For Human Rights initiative that encourages activism among Black celebrities.
“A concern that we had was, at this event, to give [Flint residents] a voice. Humanize the issue,” Coogler said in an interview with The Root prior to the event.
“We wanted to make sure that we give them a good night of entertainment. They’re a group of resilient people. But what they needed really is a break. To laugh and have fun.”
Director Ava DuVernay and actor Jesse Williams were also at the forefront of the initiative. Others included Janelle Monae and Stevie Wonder, who performed on stage together.
According to Revolt TV, “Michigan artists, including Detroiters Royce Da 5’9”, Denaun Porter and Dej Loaf took the stage, as did Flint native Jon Connor and the Saginaw-born Wonder. [In addition] Vic Mensa premiered a new song, “16 Shots,” to honour the shooting of Chicago native Laquan McDonald.”
The event was streamed live during the Oscars and is still available online for those who missed it.
Twitter users showed a lot of love for the biggest performers of the night.