“Something from Tiffany’s” actor Kendrick Sampson joined his fellow SAG-AFTRA members at the Netflix picket lines Thursday, but his participation wasn’t just to support the mission of picketing actors but to also show up for marginalized communities and the narratives of Black people in Hollywood.
“We’re out here protesting not just for our extracurricular activities and some bougie pastime, we’re out here protesting for the future, for marginalized folks, Black folks,” Sampson said. “We’re out here protesting for the future of our narratives, the future of our stories, the health of our communities.”
On Thursday, over two dozen actors took the streets in front of Netflix in support of SAG-AFTRA’s decision to go on strike following failed conversations over a new contract. Among the strikers was Sampson, who told TheWrap that he was overjoyed with SAG-AFTRA’s move to hit the picket lines, mentioning that the strike ultimately impacts unionization efforts across the country.
“I’m glad that actors overwhelmingly approved a better future…the tactics that will get us a better future, which is protesting and striking, making sure that we make our voice heard with the rest of the sectors,” Sampson said. “All of the other sectors that are striking. From the UPS, Teamsters, hotel workers walking out, fast food — so many people are saying that they are fed up with [companies] hoarding profits and not letting us participate in a way that can actually pay our bills month to month.”
Per a U.S. News report, actors made a median salary of $46,960 in 2021. The best-paid actors, who make up 25% of SAG-AFTRA’s 160,000 members, made $60,000 while the lowest-paid (25%) had an income of $30,040.
On top of fighting for SAG-AFTRA member’s rights, Sampson said he’s also showing up for the future of marginalized communities, their livelihoods and their narratives.
“I’m one of the most privileged,” Sampson said on Day 5 of the SAG-AFTRA strike and Day 79 of the WGA strike. “I don’t think people know that 90% of actors are unemployed and most of them are below the poverty line, the overwhelming majority. I’m one of the more privileged Black actors and I’m still struggling to pay my bills. Imagine what others who have far less, who have far less experience [and] credits on their resume, whatever, and far less money and resources. Like, people in my family that I’m fighting for, that I’m out here doing this to try to change the future for them, a better future for them.”