Comedian-turned-political activist Chelsea Handler will headline a Black Lives Matter fundraiser later this month in Los Angeles, where donors and attendees will screen her new Netflix documentary, “Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea,” according to event organizers.
The streaming service summarizes the 64-minute film as Handler exploring “how white privilege impacts American culture — and the ways it’s benefited her own life and career.”
— WP4BL (@WP4BL) October 5, 2019
An online flyer for the benefit, scheduled for October 30, promotes Handler as a celebrity panelist that will discuss the notion of white privilege alongside local social justice advocates who also appeared in her film. The ad shows a photograph of Handler superimposed over a black silhouette with so-called Afrocentric features. Sponsors say their objective is “to bring more white people into the movement for Black Lives and raise funds for the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter,” which will receive all of the proceeds. Titled “Courage Against Racism,” the event is part of an ongoing collaborative series “that creates space for learning, dialogue, and community action,” planners said.
This film, which includes an excerpt from a speech by The Daily Wire’s editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro, was released on September 13 to mixed reviews.
In one of the earlier scenes, Handler confesses, “I am as white as they come” while speaking to a diverse group of college students and community activists at an open mic night about privilege.
“I got the impression that black people are sick and tired of being asked questions about white people’s problems,” she later reflected. “We need to talk to people who are white and stop asking black people to solve our problems because it’s a white persons’ problem.”
Still, Handler quipped that she needed counseling prior to interviewing four conservative white women who agreed to participate in her documentary.
“I had to do a lot of therapy to even have these conversations with people, because I have a temper and I’m reactive,” Handler said in a recent appearance on “The View.”
“When somebody’s annoying, I want to tell them that they’re annoying or that they’re stupid, but my exercise in this film was to be more quiet and to stop inserting myself,” she added. “It’s important for us all to understand what everybody is really thinking and believing and to have the conversation.”
In the documentary, Handler attends an L.A. Police Commission meeting with Dr. Melina Abdullah, a founding member of Black Lives Matter. Handler applauded after Abdullah told the LAPD commissioners they compose “a rubber-stamp body for the police that continue to kill and abuse our people.”
The fundraiser’s main sponsor is a group called White People 4 Black Lives (WP4BL), which describes itself as “a white anti-racist collective that operates in solidarity with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.” It maintains that “people of color shouldn’t always have to be the ones to educate white people about racism and oppression.” Actor Matt McGorry is a longtime member, while Handler recently endorsed the organization before her massive social media following soon after her documentary debuted. WP4BL is part of a local anti-law enforcement coalition that frequently targets LAPD and is currently bird-dogging L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who is up for re-election next year.
Follow Jeffrey Cawood on Twitter@JeffreyCawood.