Blackout for Human Rights, the collective of filmmakers and activists founded by “Creed” director Ryan Coogler, is gearing up for #JUSTICEFORFLINT, a free benefit concert on Sunday in Flint, Michigan, the mostly Black city where government officials knowingly sold residents lead-tainted tap water for about two years.
Given the #OscarsSoWhite boycotts, much has been made about the Oscar-night timing of #JUSTICEFORFLINT. But organizers tell Colorlines—a media sponsor for the event—that they chose February 28 because it’s typically the last day of Black History Month and they wanted to build on the momentum of their massive King Day celebration, #MLKNow.
Whatever the strategy, Coogler and Blackout founding member Ava DuVernay have assembled an extensive #JUSTICEFORFLINT lineup, including Janelle Monaé, Andra Day, Ledisi, Robert Glasper, Vic Mensa, Musiq Soulchild, Jesse Williams, Jussie Smollett, Royce da 5’9, Denaun Porter and Flint-based Pastor Patrick Sanders. Hannibal Buress will host. The at-capacity show will take place at Flint’s Whiting Auditorium from 5 to 8 p.m. EST. Revolt TV will livestream it for people who can’t be there. To donate money now through Sunday, text JUSTICE to 83224.
“The poisoning that is happening in Flint is one of the most egregious human rights violations in American history,” DuVernay said in a press statement. “Blackout for Human Rights stands with all those affected by the water crisis, and is committed to supporting efforts on the ground to find sustainable, long-term solutions and, most importantly, achieve justice for the people of Flint.”
To ensure that the funds raised actually go to Flint folks devastated by the violence of toxic tap water, Blackout organizers tell Colorlines they will work with local activists, the mayor’s office and the Tides Foundation, which is housing the #JusticeforFlint Collective Action Fund.