Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay to Attend Benefit for Flint Instead of the Academy Awards
Entertainment| | By Margo Gothelf
It looks like the Oscars won’t be the only star-studded event this coming Sunday night. On February 28, comedian Hannibal Buress, Creed director and co-writer Ryan Coogler, singer Janelle Monae, Grey’s Anatomy actor Jesse Williams and Selma director Ava DuVernay will come together with several other entertainers to support a free benefit event in Flint, Michigan. The event is being called #JUSTICEFORFLINT.
The free and open benefit, #JUSTICEFORFLINT, will be presented by Blackout for Human Rights, “an activist collective founded by Coogler which is devoted to addressing human rights violations in the U.S.,” shared BuzzFeed News. The people living in the Flint community have had a rough two years. The majority of the residents, who are black and live under the poverty line, have had to deal with a massive lead and bacterial contamination within the public water supply. The event is hoping to raise awareness and money for those who have been affected by the water crisis. “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,” Ryan Coogler explained to BuzzFeed News in a statement. “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.” It just so happens that the event falls on the same night as the Academy Awards. Coogler was largely snubbed by the Academy for his movie, Creed, as was DuVernay for her film, Selma, last year. Both films have a primary black cast and both directors have been outspoken about #OscarsSoWhite. Coogler explained that the date was chosen because it was the final weekend of Black History Month and it was simply a coincidence that the events are on the same night. Flint’s water problem has been ongoing for nearly two years now. The problem started when the city attempted to save money and began using water from the Flint River, which was not treated properly. Because of the ill treatment of the water and the poor pipes, lead began to work its way into the public supply of water for the city. Recent discoveries have shown that many state officials knew about the problem, resulting in many state administrators to be fired or forced to resign. #JUSTICEFORFLINT will take place on Sunday, February 28 and will be available to watch via live-stream on revolt.tv.
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