President Kennedy once said that “In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation.”
I am proud to be a part of a community of artists and filmmakers who have shown their activism and social consciousness through their work; a group that is committed to examining our world and revealing the truth. Sure, the entertainment industry is not perfect. With every groundbreaking, courageous film that is produced, there are also films made that contribute little to the betterment of society.
But, more often than not, we are a group that is ahead of the national conversation. Throughout history the Hollywood community has been very much involved and in touch with what is happening in the country. During World War II, in addition to leading blood drives, members of the entertainment industry raised billions of dollars through war bond sales and its embrace of the Treasury Department’s 10% payroll deduction plan. During the pinnacle of the Civil Rights Movement, members of the Hollywood community marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in support of non-violent action to end segregation and oppression and to fight for equal rights for all. During the McCarthy Era, when actors and filmmakers were being blacklisted, the brave “Hollywood Ten,” calling on their 1st Amendment rights, refused to testify in front of the House on Un-American Activities Committee. The courts disagreed and they all were found guilty of contempt of Congress and each was sentenced to between six and twelve months in prison. During the Vietnam War, artists and entertainers marched and loudly voiced their opposition, and most recently, the community protested and spoke out against the war in Iraq.
I have said in the past that I believe art does not exist only to entertain