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Da 5 Bloods leads share messages to young protestors - Exclusive

Every so often, there's a time when culture, politics, and art align to create a force that can change the tide of history. Movies in particular, that meeting of all the art forms — visual, audio, and the written word — brought to life, can ignite hearts and minds of people all over the world, calling them to action, or cheering them on to continue in their struggle to make this world a better place.

Da 5 Bloods – the latest film from Spike Lee, once again setting the standard for excellent filmmaking — is this kind of movie. Actor Delroy Lindo's thoughts on working with the auteur signify what a powerful film it is: "He is gifting to me to go on a creative journey with him that, if we got it right, could change how people view certain aspects of the human condition." 

With protests over police brutality and the killing of American civilians at the hands of the police coinciding with the release of Da 5 Bloods, which will drop on Netflix on June 12, two of the lead actors, Delroy Lindo and Jonathan Majors, had some powerful thoughts to share with protesters. In exclusive interviews with Looper, they dispensed words of wisdom on the artist's role in society, affirmations of hope for positive social change, and encouragement for continued action.

When asked about the power art has in social change, Lindo — who plays Paul, a Vietnam War veteran scarred by the horrors of life during the war, in Da 5 Bloods –  initially said, "If there's any message, it's that we are all seeing, in real time, the healing, transformative [nature], and the strength and the power of creative processes to change and challenge existing forms."

Signs of change and calls to action

Da 5 Bloods is centered around a group of veterans returning to Vietnam decades after the brutal war left them all changed in different ways. Lindo and Majors play the father and son, Paul and David, at the beating heart of a story about family, love, oppression, and the imperialistic and economic forces that continually threaten their very lives.

The movie comes at an opportune time, at what will hopefully be a sea change in society, a movement and a moment that feel motivated in a way we've rarely seen. As Lindo shared with us, "To the extent that people all over the world are saying, 'A) Black lives matter, B) what happened with George Floyd, we reject that [...] we reject the tradition of violence that has been visited upon African American people in this country.' And the fact that people apparently are feeling that in a certain way, and are feeling it to the extent that they feel moved to get up, to leave their homes and get up and march and let their voices be heard and literally put their bodies on the line, that also speaks to an empathy, I believe."

Both Majors and Lindo, in separate interviews with Looper, shared that they felt moved and encouraged by the protests happening worldwide — some of which are being led and organized by young people. We asked the actors if they had any messages for young artists specifically. Majors replied, "I would say with full voice and full heart, 'Stay angry. Stay angry.' The beauty that you have as an artist is that you create and that your creation — the things we create — is the biggest protest, is the biggest 'f*** you' we can give."

Protest as a creative act and art as a catalyst

Lindo thinks of the protests themselves as a type of creative act, saying, "One is making a choice for oneself and leaving what may be one's comfort zone and examining internally oneself and then taking that internal examination and having it manifest externally." The actor then offered a positive outlook on the role of demonstration: "It affirms — specifically for artists — it affirms, it feels to me, the power that we all possess to confront, to stand up to, to reject. And it's an interesting thing because the rejection then actually becomes a positive, constructive act. And ultimately, I want to say it is a very human act — human and humane."

The medium of film has never been about passivity, and Da 5 Bloods and the actors' stellar performances are sure to serve as a push for further action. As movies are one of the great human art forms, they are also a clarion call for change. "The more you create, the more of yourself you put into this world, the more people see and the more people learn and the more people educate themselves [...] abolishes the ignorance," Majors said. "You've got the ball now. Let your anger make you smarter and work hard."

Da 5 Bloods will arrive on Netflix on June 12.