Common, Ava Duvernay, Others Say 'My Life Matters' In New Video Series
Stars like Common, Ava Duvernay, Boris Kodjoe, and Terrence J are using a new video series to speak up for victims of police brutality and racialized violence.
“My Life Matters,” a series of three videos, has a roster of celebrities and entertainment industry professionals – Common, Ava Duvernay, Lala Anthony, David Oyelowo, and others – recounting the most meaningful moments of their lives. They speak about their professional and educational accomplishments, marrying significant others, starting families, and fun times with loved ones.
They then take a different turn: they point out that if they were the victims of police brutality or racialized violence, that they would not have lived long enough to have such moments. Each celebrity ends their segment by saying, “my life matters,” before saying the name of a victim of police brutality or racialized violence. Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Amadou Diallo, Laquan McDonald, Trayvon Martin and Akai Gurley are among the victims honored in the videos.
The videos are moving because with the abundance of victims, headlines and video footage, it can be easy to get lost in the cause as a concept, or to see the victims as a collection of colors on a smartphone, computer or television screen. They drive home the fact that each of these victims were human beings who had the rest of their lives to look forward to, and that they were robbed of those fulfillments by officers or other armed people who killed them. It also uses the phrase “My Life Matters,” hopefully cutting through the rhetoric of people who tune out after the phrasing of Black Life Matters.
The video series was put together by Blackout For Human Rights – a network of artists, entertainers, activists, educators and spiritual leaders who pool their resources to fight against human rights violations in the United States. Blackout’s founding members include filmmaker Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station), Ava Duvernay (Selma), Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy), and others.
Blackout For Human Rights also put together the #JusticeForFlint concert to raise money for the water crisis in Flint, and the MLK Now event in January.
Watch the “My Life Matters” video series below.