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Michael B. Jordan calls for increased diversity in Hollywood

11 June

Michael B. Jordan has called for Hollywood studios and agencies to hire more Black creators and diversify its content and storytelling during a protest in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon. Jordan attended the rally where he along with hundreds of others, marched in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The Just Mercy actor addressed the crowd, giving a passionate speech condemning police brutality and inequalities in the entertainment industry.

Jordan posed a crucial challenge to the film industry, explaining that if Hollywood really wants to help end racism and support black people, they need to start by addressing the lack of diversity throughout the industry and hiring more black people in positions of influence. Speaking to the crowd of protesters, Jordan asserted “I want us to invest in Black staff…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. Are you policing our storytelling, as well? So let us bring our darkness to the light”.

Throughout his career, Jordan has sought out film roles that address the issues of social and racial injustice. This is evident from his break out role in Ryan Coogler’s 2013 Fruitvale Station which tells the true story of the events that led to the death of a young African American man, Oscar Grant, at the hands of police in 2008, to the hugely successful Black Panther, a film that truly celebrates Black culture and grapples head-on with the issues affecting modern-day black life in both America and Africa, and of course his most recent release Just Mercy, a true story about world-renowned civil rights defence attorney Bryan Stevenson, who as a young lawyer uncovers miscarriages of justice from a discriminating legal system in the deep south of America. Jordan in his speech on Saturday continued “I’m proud to have an inclusion rider and all that good stuff, and I use my power to demand diversity, but it’s time the studios and agencies and all these buildings we stand in front of to do the same”.

Palace Cinemas wholeheartedly supports diversity and inclusivity both on and off the screen and will continue to champion films from across the globe that supports this message.  

Storytelling is a fundamental part of our learning. We’ve chosen the following films we feel share important stories that help us reflect on this pivotal moment in history, both overseas and at home.

I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO (2016) | Raoul Peck

Director Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished – a radical narration about race in America, using the writer’s original words. He draws upon James Baldwin’s notes on the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. to explore and bring a fresh and radical perspective to the current racial narrative in America.

Watch the trailer HERE

Rent it on iTunes, Google Play or Youtube or stream now on Stan or DocPlay.


FRUITVALE STATION (2013) | Ryan Coogler

Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, director Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station follows the true story of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008, and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions. His resolve takes a tragic turn, however, when BART officers shoot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Years Day. Oscars life and tragic death would shake the Bay Area and the entire nation to its very core.

Watch the trailer HERE

Rent it on Google Play or Youtube or stream now on Stan.


SELMA (2014) | Ava DuVernay

Selma is the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic struggle to secure voting rights for African-Americans – a dangerous and terrifying campaign that culminated in the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama that galvanized American public opinion and persuaded President Johnson to introduce the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

Watch the trailer HERE

Rent it on iTunes, Google Play or Youtube.


JUST MERCY (2019) | Destin Daniel Cretton

A powerful and thought-provoking true story that follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.

Watch the trailer HERE

Rent it on iTunes, Google Play or Youtube.


13TH (2016) | Ava DuVernay

Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay’s examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country’s history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America. This piercing, Oscar-nominated film won Best Documentary at the Emmys, the BAFTAs and the NAACP Image Awards.

Watch the trailer HERE 

Stream now on Netflix or watch the entire feature for free on YouTube


IN MY BLOOD IT RUNS (2019) | Maya Newell

An intimate and compassionate observational documentary from the perspective of a ten-year-old Aboriginal boy in Alice Springs. Ten-year-old Dujuan is a child-healer, a good hunter and speaks three languages. As he shares his wisdom of history and the complex world around him we see his spark and intelligence. Yet Dujuan is ‘failing’ in school and facing increasing scrutiny from welfare and the police. As he travels perilously close to incarceration, his family fight to give him a strong Arrernte education alongside his western education lest he becomes another statistic. We walk with him as he grapples with these pressures, shares his truths and somewhere in-between finds space to dream, imagine and hope for his future self.

Watch the trailer HERE

Rent it on Vimeo on Demand.


SWEET COUNTRY (2017) | Warwick Thornton

Inspired by real events, Sweet Country is a period western set in 1929 in the outback of the Northern Territory, Australia. When Aboriginal stockman Sam (Hamilton Morris) kills white station owner Harry March (Ewen Leslie) in self-defence, Sam and his wife Lizzie (Natassia Gorey-Furber) go on the run. They are pursued across the outback, through glorious but harsh desert country.

Watch the trailer HERE

Rent it on iTunes, Google Play or Youtube or stream now on SBS On Demand.


THE AUSTRALIAN DREAM (2019) | Daniel Gordon

The Australian Dream is a documentary that uses the remarkable and inspirational story of Indigenous AFL legend Adam Goodes as the prism through which to tell a deeper and more powerful story about race, identity and belonging. The film will unpick the events of the 2013-15 AFL seasons and ask fundamental questions about the nature of racism and discrimination in society today. Walkley award-winning writer Stan Grant and BAFTA award-winning director Daniel Gordon join forces to tell this remarkable story of one of the most decorated & celebrated players in AFL history. A man who remains a cultural hero; the very epitome of resilience & survival, who continues to fight for equality and reconciliation.

Watch the trailer HERE

Rent it on iTunes, Google Play or Youtube.

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