As millions prepared to fight it out in crowds for reduced priced Christmas gifts, film-makers Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay urged people to stay home in protest over Monday’s grand jury decision not to indict Michael Brown’s killer, Darren Wilson.
The “Black Friday” protest urges consumers to go against the grain and not spend ridiculous amounts of money on the one day a year where that is typically encouraged—the day after Thanksgiving.
The idea was conceived by Ryan Coogler, director of the award-winning drama Fruitvale Station which followed the true story of a young Black man shot dead by a white transport policeman on New Year’s Day 2009. The director has heavy hitters in his court, like Ava DuVernay, director of the forthcoming Selma.
The directors join activists in Missouri and Atlanta and other cities in urging Black people to boycott white-owned businesses on Black Friday, the entire Thanksgiving weekend and also Cyber Monday to show their disgust with the disregard for Black lives exhibited by the white power structure in St. Louis.
The activists are calling the movement “No Justice, No Profit,” organized by the Justice for Michael Brown Leadership Coalition and religious leaders.
DuVerynay told The Wrap: “I’m a part of Blackout which was conceived by film-maker Ryan Coogler. Ferguson is a mirror of the past. And Selma is a mirror of now. We are in a sad, distorted continuum. It’s time to really look in that mirror.” Other supporters include Fruitvale Station actor Michael B. Jordan, “Vampire Diaries” star Kat Graham, hiphop heavyweight Russell Simmons and Rage Against the Machine guitarist, Tom Morello.
The campaign, which has used the hashtag #blackoutblackfriday on Twitter, says it aims to “make Black Friday a nationwide day of action and retail boycott. Blackout will be organizing grassroots events, nationwide, for people to come out and show their solidarity in the fight for equal human rights,” according to The Guardian.
“They are trying to do the same thing [as the civil rights movement],” journalist and documentary maker Soledad O’Brien told The Wrap. “What is the impact that black lives can have? Well, they don’t need to spend their one trillion dollars that they spend shopping every year. Would American businesses feel that? So I think it’s a movement to empower people.”