A PSA with an all-black cast throws light on the harrowing cases of police brutality against the African American community.
Celebrities including Michael B. Jordan, Michael K. Williams, Danny Glover and Sophia Dawson have lent their faces to a short film titled “Against the Wall” — a reference to the position that too many in the black community are forced to assume when being placed under arrest — created by Sankofa, a not-for-profit, social justice organization founded by Harry Belafonte.
The four-minute video starts with somber music and a police call, followed by an off-screen voice lamenting the numbers of unarmed black men killed by police officers across the country. It is followed by the notorious call made by George Zimmerman in which he reported 17-year-old Trayvon Martin as “a black male” who is “up to no good… on drugs or something.”
The audio is accompanied by an image of Jordan staring unflinchingly into the camera with his hands against the wall.
As the video progresses, more celebrities are shown while an audio of police yelling at suspects and details of their death is played in the background.
The video ends with the words “Black Is Not A Weapon” and the power symbol of African Americans, a raised fist.
Directors Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz hope to spread awareness of the plights of the African American who have been targeted by the police simply because of the color of their skin.
“We thought it would prove powerful to place these celebrated people in the same positions that too many within the black community face — being forced against the wall, hands up, on the ground and eventually shot dead by police,” Bush said in a release. “You can see and feel the same pain, bewilderment, fear, humiliation in the faces of these celebrated people, as you could imagine would have been on the faces of the victims themselves.”
The creators believed incorporating celebrities into the video is an effective way to capture the public’s attention, who already know about the predicament of black people but may have become desensitized to the issue.
The PSA reminds the viewers about the extent of the problem and the fact the victims of police brutality are humans like them.
View the whole video above.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Mario Anzuoni