Ryan Coogler explains why he keeps “Black Panther II” in Georgia | Sunday Observer

Ryan Coogler explains why he keeps “Black Panther II” in Georgia

25 April, 2021

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler is joining the many public figures speaking out against Georgia’s new voting restrictions, while also explaining why he plans to keep his highly-anticipated sequel in the state instead of relocating in the form of a boycott.

In an essay for Deadline, published on Friday, April 16, Ryan announced that Black Panther II will remain in Georgia. As noted by People, his announcement follows news that Will Smith’s upcoming film Emancipation will move to a different location as a direct result of the restrictive voting laws.

“Our film is staying in Georgia,” Ryan wrote in his essay, explaining that he took time to speak with activists in the state to learn about the ramifications of a potential boycott.

“I have come to understand that many of the people employed by my film, including all the local vendors and businesses we engage, are the very same people who will bear the brunt of SB202. For those reasons, I will not be engaging in a boycott of Georgia.”

Ryan went on to explain what he does intend to do—and that’s use his platform to make a difference. “What I will be doing is using my voice to emphasize the effects of SB202, its shameful roots in Jim Crow, and doing all I can to support organizations fighting voter suppression here in the state,” the director wrote.

True to his word, his essay included a specific breakdown of the effects of Senate Bill 202, which include a shortening of the absentee ballot request period; the addition of more ID requirements for voting by mail; the criminalization of handing out water or snacks to those waiting in line; limiting the number and availability of drop boxes; placing a ban on mobile voting; and further restrictions making it more difficult for people to vote, the majority of which will disproportionately affect Black voters.

Ryan also spoke about the importance of passing H.R. 1, AKA the “For the People Act,” which has already been passed by the U.S. House and is awaiting Senate approval. The bill includes several measures designed to take aim at voter suppression and increase voter access, from the creation of automatic voter registration to expanding early voting and vote-by-mail timelines.

The director’s essay ended by boosting Fair Fight Action’s #StopJimCrow2 campaign, which is fighting to protect voting rights across the country.

“I have made a personal commitment to raise awareness about ways to help overturn this harmful bill, and continue to get educated on this matter from people on the ground,” Ryan concluded.

“I will encourage everyone working with me to tap in with the local community directly affected by Senate Bill 202 and to leverage their influence and resources to aid in the fight for this particular and essential pillar of democracy.”