Black writers hit the picket line outside Paramount Studios Wednesday in Los Angeles, on a day set aside to recognize writers of color during the WGA strike.
Day 9 of the strike brought out hundreds of writers who marched, chanted, danced and called for Hollywood studios and streamers to show them the money.
“This is great that it’s about people of color, because it brings recognition,” Jonathan Butler, who wrote for five seasons on The CW superhero series The Flash, told Urban Hollywood 411.
The longtime writer and producer carried a sign with lyrics on it from Rihanna’s hit single “B–ch Better Have My Money” as he marched with a small speaker playing the track from a music app on his phone.
“We’re trying to make a living wage in a time when conglomerates are buying companies and they’re claiming that they don’t make money. Then they come out with statements that are public to their shareholders, like we’re idiots, and show that they obviously are making money,” Butler added. “And then when we ask for just a living wage, we’re not asking for too much, they pull out their pockets and go, ‘sorry, we’re broke.’”
“We need to make sure that we support and create safe spaces for our Black writers, and make sure that we give them the wages and protection they deserve” – Actor Kendrick Sampson hit the #WGA picket line at Paramount in L.A. on “Black Writers Day” pic.twitter.com/RUolGXQm3S
— Urban Hollywood 411 (@UrbHollywood411) May 11, 2023
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Butler later stopped picketing to pose for pictures with Titanic and Watchmen actress Frances Fisher. He told onlookers, “She’s a legend.”
Among other actors on the picket line outside Paramount, on what was billed as “Black Writers” day, was Insecure star Kendrick Sampson.
“They need to cut that check,” Sampson said about the studios.
“Writers need to be paid, especially in a time when Black stories are attacked,” he added. “CRT [critical race theory] is a whole controversial topic, and they’re trying to ban books and our stories. Our narratives have a direct link to the health of our communities. We need to make sure that we support and create safe spaces for our Black writers, and make sure that we give them the wages and the protection that they deserve.”
According to a WGA rep at the location, more than 900 writers, actors and teamsters had gathered outside the main gate at Paramount by 2 p.m.
Also spotted in the crowd were The Game actress Wendy Raquel Robinson, A Black Lady Sketch Show creator Robin Thede, Reasonable Doubt star Emayatzy Corinealdi, and 9-1-1 actress Aisha Hinds.
“Solidarity is sacred. It’s important for us to band together. That is where our power lies and we need to ensure that we are working to support one another in being able to get fair wages for our collective work,” said Hinds. “There’s no one who does more than the other. We are all interdependent upon one another to produce the work that goes into the world.”
The strike began on May 2, after contract talks broke down between the WGA and The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the studios and streamers.
The AMPTP has said it presented a “comprehensive package proposal” to the guild, which included “generous increases in compensation for writers,” but the proposal was rejected.
‘B–ch Betta Have My Money’
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