Ryan Coogler Decides ‘Black Panther’ Sequel ‘Is Staying In Georgia’ Amid Controversial Voting Law
Ryan Coogler has no plans to move Black Panther 2 out of Georgia despite a new voting law that has called for Hollywood to boycott the state.
Governor Brian Kemp signed the controversial law, which has been compared to Jim Crow and likened to voter suppression, last month. It was in response to former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims that Georgia was involved in election fraud as he lost the state to Joe Biden in the presidential election in November.
The new law makes it illegal to provide food and water to voters waiting in line and puts heavier restrictions on mail-in voting.
Since then, Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua have pulled out of making their film Emancipation in the state. They said in a joint statement Monday (April 12th),
“At this moment in time, the Nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice. We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access. The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting. Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state.”
While Tyler Perry previously slammed the law, he urged filmmakers not to boycott. and said,
“As a Georgia resident and business owner I’ve been here a few times with the anti-abortion bill and the LGBTQ discrimination bill. They all sent a shockwave through Georgia and the nation but none of them managed to succeed. I’m resting my hope in the DOJ taking a hard look at this unconstitutional voter suppression law that harkens to the Jim Crow era. As some consider boycotting, please remember that we did turn Georgia blue and there is a gubernatorial race on the horizon — that’s the beauty of a democracy.”
Now, Ryan Coogler has made it clear that Black Panther 2 will still be filmed in Georgia. He reacted to the new voting law and wrote in a Deadline op-ed Friday (April 16th):
“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. 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.”
“While I wished to turn my concern into action, I could not do so without first being educated on the specifics of Georgia. 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.”
He detailed the specifics of the law and other Georgia legislation (see it here), before adding:
“Our film is staying in Georgia. 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.”
He concluded by stating he’s donating to Fair Fight Action and encouraged readers to follow suit.
Production for Black Panther 2 will begin this summer and is slated for a July 8, 2022 release.
What are your thoughts on Ryan Coogler’s decision? Comment and let us know.