ryan coogler wants us all to ditch black friday

November 23, 2018
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Black Friday is essentially the birthday of Capitalism and considering that all the deals, savings and sales sit on a mountain of exploitation of workers, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and a handful of big Black Hollywood names are calling out the social and economic injustice perpetrated by our current economic system.

Coogler founded organization Blackout For Human Rights, which just launched its 5th #BlackOutFriday campaign. According to a press release sent out by the organization, the initiative seeks “to protest social and economic injustice in the U.S., and instead engage in cultural activism,” reports Blavity.

The strength of our voices is closely linked to our buying power and according to the manifesto of the organization, they would like to use Black Friday to call attention to that dynamic. “Our lives are joined by the money we spend as consumers. Today, more than ever, the levers of power – civic, corporate, industrial, capital – are tied to one another and to our economy.” Black spending boosts the American economy to the tune of billions but Black lives continue to be treated as expendable.

Coogler, supported by figures like Ava DuVernay, Donald Glover, Michael B. Jordan and Jesse Williams, is building this movement by embracing art as a form of resistance. Veritable genius and creator of Random Acts of Flyness Terence Nance was enlisted to host a screening and talk in New York City as one of the many art-driven #BlackOutFriday events.

As someone with an Amazon Prime account, it’s tricky to navigate everyday survival with big picture activism that seeks to hold large companies accountable for exploiting their employees. The growing capital they manage to secure through government-backed policy and tax-breaks that take money from the poor is also another consolidation tactic to keep economic power in the hands of the predominantly white 1%.

How do each and every one of us play our own part in dismantling this system that prioritizes profits over lives? I assume we start small by divesting from fads like Black Friday. It’s not easy but we are slowly coming to terms with the fact that easy was never guaranteed. The power is in taking it step-by-step. If anything, this Black Friday start by buying exclusively Black. It’s one step, but it’s a meaningful beginning.