Hollywood sign by the Forward

The entertainment industry needs a reset. A new Black-Jewish alliance is ready for the job.

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For over a century, the struggles of Black and Jewish Americans have been deeply intertwined.

Black and Jewish activists fighting against racial violence founded the NAACP in 1909 to push for a more peaceful and tolerant society.

Arnie Aronson, a Jewish activist, worked with A. Philip Randolph and Roy Wilkins to form the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Heschel marched arm in arm in Selma for civil rights.

More recently, Jewish and Black Americans have come together to stand against the institutionalized racism painfully exposed by the murder of George Floyd and the shocking hatred that led to the murders at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Opinion | The entertainment industry needs a reset. A new Black-Jewish alliance is ready for the job.

Opinion | The entertainment industry needs a reset. A new Black-Jewish alliance is ready for the job.

The nature of the discrimination, violence, and prejudice that we have faced throughout America’s history — and to this present day — is not the same. Yet our work to advance the cause of justice and equality is profoundly connected.

This is why many entertainment industry leaders have grown increasingly alarmed in recent months as tensions driven by the perpetuation of hurtful stereotypes have bubbled up into conflict between our communities. Some outlier comments by high-profile entertainment individuals have been highlighted by the media, but these do not reflect the true, historic nature of the Jewish and Black communities’ relationship.

It’s time to reset the table.

This is what drove us and 170 other leaders from the entertainment industry to form the Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance, a new initiative that uses our platforms to shed light on the importance of our two communities standing united against hatred.

Our members are deeply concerned by both rising antisemitism and institutional racism in America. The Alliance will facilitate conversations and coordinated actions between Black and Jewish entertainment leaders to respond to these critical issues.

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work to be done, as highlighted by recent events targeting both Blacks and Jews, from marchers in Charlottesville chanting racist and antisemitic slogans to the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, where rioters donned “Camp Auschwitz” shirts and waved Confederate flags. White supremacy is a threat to both our communities. We must work together to counter all hate, especially since hate-fueled violence against the Black and Jewish communities continues to outpace their relative population sizes.

While many organizations combat antisemitism and racism individually, this Alliance intends to serve as a unified voice against both evils. Together, our historically marginalized communities have greater power to fight against hate and intolerance wherever it is found.

We will elevate voices in the entertainment community that can help the public better understand the causes, manifestations and effects of racism and antisemitism.

Once travel restrictions subside, we hope to lead collective trips to the African American History Museum and the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., among visits to other historical sites like Selma and Europe’s concentration camps. These activities will serve as opportunities for both communities to learn from one another and deepen the bonds between them.

Significant change and societal progress require coalition building, courage, allyship and cross-cultural understanding. Let’s commit to being better to one another and to continuing the path that Black and Jewish activists have paved for decades to stand together against racism and antisemitism as one.

Opinion | The entertainment industry needs a reset. A new Black-Jewish alliance is ready for the job.

Andre and Sean Davidson are music producers and songwriters who work under the name The Monarch. Aton Ben-Horin is a music producer and label executive with Warner Music Group.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance aims for change

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The entertainment industry needs a reset. A new Black-Jewish alliance is ready for the job.

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