Ryan Coogler is starting production for Black Panther 2, and he’s decided to film in Georgia again, following the first film in the franchise.
In an op-ed he shared with select outlets, Coogler discussed what went into his decision to continue filming in Georgia after the passing of voter suppression bill SB202, which has led others to boycott the state. The bill has been referred to as “Jim Crow 2.0.”
“While I wished to turn my concern into action, I could not do so without first being educated on the specifics of Georgia,” Coogler wrote. “Having now spoken with voting rights activists in the state, 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. 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.”
Coogler’s decision speaks to the complications of a boycott—as in, a boycott could be harmful to the very working-class Georgians it aims to support. Stacey Abrams also previously expressed this concern, most notably in connection with the MLB’s decision to remove the All-Star Game from Georgia. It is important to note that not all of Hollywood consists of the wealthy and famous—there are many working-class residents as well, most of whom don’t have stable or salaried income. A community engaging in a boycott would ideally also provide resources for those who work in the industry to survive.
Coogler also laid out the ramifications of SB202, as follows:
Senate Bill 202 will:
Shorten the absentee ballot request period
Shorten the absentee application return deadline
Ban out-of-precinct provisional voting except for 5pm-7pm on Election Day
Add additional ID requirements for voting by mail (photocopy of ID for those without state ID/Driver’s Licenses)
Ban mobile voting
Truncate the runoff period
Outlaw private funding for elections administration
Impose a date of birth requirement on absentee ballots
Criminalize handing out water/snacks to voters in line
Add new restrictions on polling location hours extensions
Severely limit number of drop boxes and hours of availability for their use and
Transfer massive election authority to statehouse Republicans, including control of the State Election Board and the ability to remove county election officials who don’t do their bidding
“Our film is staying in Georgia,” Coogler added. “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.”
The director-producer also endorsed the H.R.1 For the People Act (expanding access to the ballot and ending partisan gerrymandering), which the House passed and encouraged the Senate to do the same (S. 1.). He also highlighted The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which will re-implement pre-clearance.
Coogler concluded that he will be donating to Fair Fight Action and more information can be found at stopjimcrow2.com.