Netflix is releasing an animated movie called Cops and Robbers, which it’s directors say was made for all of the black people who’ve been “victims of police violence and other injustices just for being themselves.”
The animated short was directed by Arnon Manor and Timothy Ware-Hill, who say that they made the film “for all the Black men, women and children who have been victims of racial profiling, police violence, loss of life and other injustices just for being themselves.”
The animated movie was inspired by the death of Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed in Brunswick, Georgia, in February. Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis, were arrested in May and charged with the murder of Arbery.
“You do not see [black vulnerability] a lot and that for me was important because it humanizes black men. It also humanizes black people and marginalized communities,” said actress Jada Pinkett Smith of Cops and Robbers. “We can talk about the issues, but if you don’t feel, if you don’t really see and understand that and see that there’s nothing to fear — we are human and we bleed just like you,” said Pinkett Smith, who interviewed Manor and Ware-Hill.
The Matrix 4 star, who noted that she helped get the short onto Netflix, talked about Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes’ contribution to the film with her performance of the song, “Soon I Will Be Done,” claiming that the song helps people feel compassion for black people that are dying.
“Having her amazing voice and contribution solidifies and amplifies the messaging I was talking about before with emotion,” said Pinkett Smith. “It’s like there’s a splitting heart that hammers down any walls around a person’s heart and pride and ignorance.”
“There’s that extra component to help whatever the wall or the block might be that stops somebody from understanding or relating or having compassion around the idea that African American people are dying at the hands of cops,” she added. “The song and Brittany just added that component to help pierce and get to the deeper compassion of the issue.”
Pinkett Smith added that while “police brutality is nothing new,” Americans are now “watching executions on television” because people are taking videos with their cellphones and posting them to social media.
“We are watching executions on television, which is mind blowing. We are watching young men and young women gunned down on live TV and people are in the streets recording it,” the Gotham star said. “We’ve heard about it before and it would get written up, but now you have the visuals that make it real. We get to see it and that’s the difference. You can look at it and see for yourself what’s happening.”