Director Ryan Coogler of “Creed” is celebrating Oscar night, just not at the Academy Awards ceremony.
The black director is instead holding a live-concert benefit called “#JusticeForFlint” in Flint, Michigan to raise awareness of the city’s disastrous lead-water crisis.
The ceremony, which is held on the same day as the Oscar Awards will be attended by singer Janelle Monae, “Grey’s Anatomy” star Jesse Williams and director of “Selma” Ava DuVernay and other notable celebrities. The event is open for public and is presented by “Blackout for Human Rights,” a civil rights organization founded by Coogler.
Though the event does coincide with the Oscars Awards—which largely ignored “Creed” in the nominations as it did for “Selma” last year— Coogler has informed that it is simply a coincidence. The Sunday night event was chosen for this particular day because Sunday was the last weekend of the “Black History Month.”
“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, as well as provide them with a night of entertainment, unity, and emotional healing,”said Coogler. “Through the live stream we will also give a chance for people around the world to participate, and to donate funds to programs for Flint’s youth.”
The idea for #JusticeForFlint” emerged at Blackout’s last event held on Martin Luther King Day on Jan 28, which took place at Riverside Church in Harlem and drew more than 200o participants.
Flint’s water problems began in April 2014, when the city stopped buying water from Detroit and instead tapped into the nearby highly-corrosive Flint River for its supply, in an effort to save money. The highly acidic water started to rust the pipe and leached lead into the water supply, which has caused risk of permanent mental and physical disabilities.
On the heels of the horrific discovery of emails revealing officials knew about the lead contamination in the water even before the switch was made, many city and state officials have resigned or been fired.