Michael B. Jordan, Danny Glover, and Omar from “The Wire” Star in this Haunting Police Brutality Protest Video

“Black is not a weapon.”


Big names including Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Fruitvale Station), Danny Glover, and Michael K. Williams (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire) are the stars of “Against the Wall,” a new video PSA from singer/social activist Harry Belafonte that highlights the issue of racial bias in police shootings of black men and women. We see each of the stars in turn, their hands pressed against a wall (or a rug made to look like one), looking into the camera with faces that reflect sadness and frustration. The audio consists of police radio and 911 calls—you’ll recognize snippets from the Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, and Terence Crutcher cases—spliced with news reports and demands for justice (notably, from Anderson Cooper and the viral YouTube video of Nakia Jones, an Ohio cop). Also featured: former Obama adviser and CNN regular Van Jones, Sophia Dawson, Marc Lamont Hill, Sydney G. James, and rapper Mysonne.

The PSA opens with Jordan and an audio clip from 89-year-old Belafonte, whose social justice organization, Sankofa, partnered with directors Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz to create the video. “You cannot just go about, if it’s once or twice you can say it’s an accident or a coincidence, but when you have as large a population of murdered young men in the streets of America and they’re all black or of African American descent, I think there is somebody sending us a message,” Belafonte says. “And we should respond to that message.”

The PSA ends with a shot of Williams, best known for his portrayal of Omar on The Wire, lying on the ground, presumably injured. His eyes close, the screen fades to black, and the takeaway message appears: “BLACK IS NOT A WEAPON.”

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate