The passing of Georgia’s SB202 voting rights bill has prompted a great deal of backlash against the state’s lawmakers over the last few weeks. Among other controversial provisions, the law shortens the window for requesting absentee ballots and imposes new ID requirements. It also makes it a crime to hand out food or water to voters waiting in line.
In response, several Hollywood luminaries are attempting to do their part by staging a production boycott throughout the entire state. Regardless, one filmmaker who isn’t joining this boycott is Ryan Coogler, who’s set to begin work on Black Panther 2 in July. In a new essay (via IndieWire), Coogler explained why he’s keeping the sequel in the Peach State this summer.
“The fight for full enfranchisement is fundamental to the African-American struggle in this country and to this country’s claim to functioning democracy,” began Coogler. “As an African-American, and as a citizen, I oppose all attempts, explicit and otherwise, to shrink the electorate and reduce access to the ballot. I say this as I return to Georgia, a state that holds a special place in my heart. I lived in Atlanta for eight months while filming my last movie [and] I have long looked forward to returning. But, when I was informed of the passage of SB202 in the state, and its ramifications for the state’s voters, I was profoundly disappointed.”
Coogler also discussed how a boycott could damage “local vendors and businesses” that benefit from Black Panther 2’s production. According to him, those business owners are among the people most likely to feel the effects of Georgia’s new laws. That’s why he’s pledging to support voting rights organizations, and he’s encouraging fans to do the same. Coogler specifically endorsed the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. He also announced plans to donate to Fair Fight Action. That organization’s website can be found here.
“Our film is staying in Georgia,” continued Coogler. “Additionally, 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. 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.”
Black Panther 2 will hit theaters on July 8, 2022.
How do you feel about Coogler’s decision? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1
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