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.”