Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds donate $200K to NAACP, acknowledge their ‘complicity’

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Like many of us, there are a number of celebrities who are trying to find the right way to speak out about the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless other black men and women. Some are finding a good balance, while others are trying, but they’re talking over the voices they should amplifying. And then there’s Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, who just donated $200,000 dollars to the NAACP legal defense fund. They both posted this the same statement to their Instagram pages, which read:

We’ve never had to worry about preparing our kids for different rules of law or what might happen if we’re pulled over in the car,” the statement read. “We don’t know what it’s like to experience that life day in and day out. We can’t imagine feeling that kind of fear and anger. We’re ashamed that in the past we’ve allowed ourselves to be uninformed about how deeply rooted systemic racism is.

We’ve been teaching our children differently than the way our parents taught us. We want to educate ourselves about other people’s experiences and talk to our kids about everything, all of it… especially our own complicity. We talk about our bias, blindness and our own mistakes. We look back and see so many mistakes which have led us to deeply examine who we are and who we want to become. They’ve led us to huge avenues of education.

We are committed to raising our kids so they never grow up feeding this insane pattern and so they’ll do their best to never inflict pain on another being consciously or unconsciously. It’s the least we can do to honor not just George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Eric Garner, but all the black men and women who have been killed when a camera wasn’t rolling.

Last week we contributed $200,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. We stand in awe of this organization and its leader, Sherrilyn Ifill. And this is just a start. We also pledge to stay educated and vote in every local election. We want to know the positions of the school board nominees, sheriffs, mayors, councilpersons. We want to know their positions on justice. But mainly, we want to use our privilege and platform to be an ally. And to play a part in easing pain for so may who feel as though this grand experiment is failing them.

Link in bio to @naacp_ldf

There are petitions to sign, representatives to call, money to be donated, calls to action or simply information to better understand the issues and how each and every one of us can help.

So let’s get right to it, when they are speaking to their kids about their own “complicity” are they acknowledging that they gave a large sum of money to be married at a plantation and then proudly posted photos of that plantation in the pages of Martha Stewart’s magazine? Is Blake’s post on The Allure of Antebellum among their, “bias, blindness and our own mistakes?” I believe people can change and I understand too well feeling the need to atone for the sins of an ignorant mind. But their past ‘mistakes’ are too large of an elephant in the room to merely allude to them. Truly expiating for past offenses means acknowledging specifically what they were and apologizing for them, in addition to working towards undoing the damage done.

However, I do like their emphasizing educating ourselves right now. I appreciate the need to acknowledge that some of our parents taught us the wrong lessons. I fully support people truly learning what the people for whom they plan to vote stand for. And regardless of the obvious holes in Blake and Ryan’s statement, the money will be put to valuable use. CB listed ways you can contribute. If you don’t have the money, sign petitions. Boost advocates’ voices on your social media. Stand up for what you believe in every area of your life. And stay mad, because this isn’t even close to over.

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Photo credit: WENN/Avalon and Twitter

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65 Responses to “Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds donate $200K to NAACP, acknowledge their ‘complicity’”

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  1. Hope says:

    I think they’re smart enough to know they were going to get dragged for their plantation fantasies and did this now so it doesn’t come back later. And they could also support the protesters.

    BLM should always have had mainstream support. Blake should never have felt comfortable trying to market delicate white woman fantasies tied to the antebellum south. But now corporations are tweeting their support and this has become a national event. People in the public eye are going to be asked about this and I think this is the way Blake and Ryan have chosen to deal with their own past behavior. Frankly, they should have donated more. They can afford it.

    • kacy says:

      Agreed 200k is nothing for them. This is an insulting attempt to get ahead of dragging.

  2. Lee says:

    Exactly, well said Hecate! They didn’t even mention the big mistake, aka the plantation wedding, so this apologize means zero to me. Not to mention her more recent gaffes (Oakland booty with LA face,, her idiotic posts on her attempt of a blog)….He was 36 when he got married to her on that plantation, no way they didnt know what a planatation meant or what racism was.
    That said, nice of them to donate money but it always rubs me the wrong way when people – celebs or not – rush to tell the world how much they donated, just say you donated, the amount can stay unsaid. Just my two cents.

  3. Kylie says:

    Unpopular opinion, but I feel like people can evolve a lot, especially in 8 years. They made a mistake, yes, but I don’t think it should overshadow the good they are attempting to do now.

    • MissMarierose says:

      I agree. They acknowledge that they have work to do. So, this is a step in the right direction but we will see if they continue to take other steps that way.

      • Blondems says:

        I agree too. They know that we know about the plantation wedding, the antebellum glamourising etc – I don’t think that they need to spell it out. It came from a place of ignorance and they are trying to do better and become allies. Isn’t that what ‘we’ (I’m white) should all be doing? I can’t say that I got married on a plantation, and I’ve never used racial epithets, but it is only in the last decade or so that I’ve really gained an understanding of white privilege. (I’m not from the US and in New Zealand there’s not such a stark, blinding obviousness to racist systems, and the government seems to be actively trying to make amends.)

    • Badrockandroll says:

      I have to hope that people can change, or we’re all F***ed.
      And for a bit of context, Reynolds is/was a Canadian child actor. Whatever homeschooling he had probably didn’t include much of American history. Although I am a WAY (WAY) older Canadian, I know that my education did not include any American history other than pejorative and surface comparisons. I believe that’s a defensive reaction to our inundation by American culture. Which is a long way of saying that many of the things that have import south of the 49th don’t impact the same way here. I have to admit that I was in my thirties before I realized that GWTW was more than just a movie, and once I went down the rabbit hole of just how horribly horribly wrong it was, I was ashamed of myself for not “getting it” earlier. If this old middle class suburban white woman can still educate herself, and through that education gain some sort of empathy for other human beings, isn’t that better than remaining the same?

      • Lizzieb says:

        @badrocknroll. I’m in my fifties and Canadian and we covered the war between the states with dialogue about civil rights, financial drivers and why it occurred. We also covered civil rights. American and other. We were very vocal, aware of apartheid for example as it was the early eighties. Eve if Ryan was not well educated had he never watched cnn or other news? Roots? Not sure how Blake was unaware except maybe she wanted to be. I have a soft spot for them as they have been generous in covid-19. This is a start for them. I hope they are sincere and keep it up

      • Badrockandroll says:

        Lizzieb: I’m older than you I’m afraid. Almost all my HS history and English teachers were American transplants to Canada (many as Viet Nam resistors) and they waved the Cdn flag hard. Not one word about American history except in comparison to Cdn (Cda won 1812, Cda got rid of slavery earlier, Cda saw the importance of international involvement in the two world wars earlier … ) It wasn’t until uni that I realized what a lousy secondary education I had! Although to be fair, if I were 10 years older, I would have had no Cdn lit or history, it all would have been Empire! But I share your hope that everyone who is now looking at things in a different light keeps it up even when the headlines change.

    • kacy says:

      I think people can change. I think that a larger donation would signal that they had. 200k is a trivial amount of money for them.

  4. Valeri says:

    Didn’t Justin and Hailey Bieber Recently get married on a plantation as well?

  5. Subidu says:

    I feel like I have to admit, that I don’t have full grasp on understanding all the complex history of systematical racism in America, but as a admittedly ignorant European I do wander; what would be the best solution for plantations? Should they just be demolished? Owned as private property and not rented out? Be used as museums, acknowledging their history?
    Or am I seeing the problem wrong; the problem is not in the plantation as places, but in celebrating the stave-owning, racist way of life that used to go on in such places?

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      Subidu, a number of plantations are museums & have pivoted to focus on having honest discussions about the realities of slavery & the enslaved people who lived there. In some cases, that has resulted in white people complaining in Yelp reviews because they “didn’t come here to be lectured about slavery” & similar nonsense. But generally, I think it’s eye opening for most people who visit.

      • Caitrin says:

        To wit, the Whitney Plantation has a museum dedicated to educating visitors about slavery. It’s hugely different from, say, Houmas House in that regard.

      • adastraperaspera says:

        The education aspect is important. But I think the problem is that the part of the plantations that are “beautiful” are the huge homes, lawns and gardens. Those get glorified and effectively hide/erase the heinous violence that took place there. In fact, many people outright deny there was violence due to how pleasant the properties seem now. For me (I live in Nashville), I wish they would close many of them. It’s like keeping the Nazi officer grounds from the concentration camps going–sure, it was pretty on that side of the wall, but on the other side was untold human suffering.

      • Lizzie Bathory says:

        @adastraperaspera, I agree it’s a huge problem & having plantations as event venues absolutely causes erasure. I think most of them probably should be closed & expect that will happen over time. Any that remain should be set in the proper context to convey the horror they represent.

    • Teresa says:

      I live in the South and I will say the plantations are often very beautiful. I view it as a historical place that you can visit and learn but it’d be weird to have a wedding there. I wouldn’t say get rid of them, again they are beautiful and it’s nice to have open undeveloped spaces, but it could be the same for a Holocaust concentration camp. You can respect the historical significance, maybe walk around with your family learning and having a picnic, but you just don’t throw a party there.

      • Poisonella says:

        I live in the south too. However, the one plantation I ever visited had the original slave cabins still standing. I guarantee you no one was having their events there.

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      Destroying history doesn’t erase it. But I don’t think glorified plantation tours should exist. However, transforming tours to be wholly educational is important. Tell it like it was. Include everything. From every point of view. It should be a somber look at the past, but it should be known, and it should be understood.

    • K says:

      I wish existing plantation properties were turned into places of education and community healing. Not for glamorous private events that gloss over the past. But they do hold historical relevance that shouldn’t just be bulldozed.

      Some could become community centers/colleges with classes perhaps all taught by Black Americans, others museums with black artists-in-residence given the space to express their perspective on a history that may be horrible, but should not be forgotten. Create jobs and opportunities for learning, raise money offered as grants to black scientists and innovators. Then send kids there for field trips, so they don’t just learn their American history from books and the internet. Build monuments and put up grave markers in a symbolic cemetery remembering those who suffered and died from racism and take kids there too, to make the magnitude of human loss more literal to them.

      Have white volunteers or those sentenced to community service build these amendments to plantation properties, funded with money from white celebrities–like these two–who can certainly spare it. They wouldn’t be publicly “honored” for their donations, but it would help their karma to know some of their money went towards something productive for others.

  6. LoonaticCap says:

    I hear what you are saying Hecate, but if they had highlighted all the gross “missteps” they made, it would create such a great uproar and diversion from the current situation, i think it was best they acknowledged their privilege, and admit their “complicity”. I think they owned up to it and as a black person, since there are more pressing matters at hand, and Virgils out there giving 50 dollars, I’m fine with their apology. And I’ll expect them to do more.

    SN: i find it funny there’s a great number of coldplay stans on Twitter expecting them to say anything and all I hear is crickets. Those people should take a hint.

    • JJ McClay says:

      I agree. Like, they would have gotten dragged for centring themselves if they’d included a laundry list.

    • Case says:

      “But if they had highlighted all the gross “missteps” they made, it would create such a great uproar and diversion from the current situation.”

      Agreed. And I think, as white people, it’s a (rightfully) a delicate situation to navigate. I have been trying to offer my support and spread resource and organizations on social media. And then I worry if I make a comment or write too much about it, I’m making it about me, which isn’t my intent.

      Last night I posted about how the Black Panther Party showed up for disability rights activists in the 70s (I have a disability), and how important it is for those of us who have been marginalized to stick together, and how important it is to understand intersectionality of those who maybe have a disability AND are hated for the color of their skin. I feel very strongly what I said, but I worry it was too “me” focused in retrospect. At the same time, I know how important it is to speak out and get our social circles to understand the importance of what is going on, so I felt my post was possibly an effective way to do that. I don’t know. It’s a learning process.

      • LoonaticCap says:

        Thank you for your comment @Case. I totally get where you’re coming from. We all have prejudice ingrained in us. I am black and not American, but I’ve had preconceived notions about WP too. I was lucky to grow in Belgium for a few years, so I’ve always had friends and even some crushes from other races and cultures, which helped me become more open minded, but when i came back to my country, other stereotypes arose from the black experience in my country vs. the WP that still live here… it’s a complicated story, but I digress.
        It is important to show support without making it about yourself, and from what you describe, you did it well. It’s not possible for you to completely remove yourself from it, but please share your story, as you learn. We are all learning.
        As I am learning about our experience with Racism as Africans vs the experience with Racism for African Americans and Brazilians. It’s completely different but we can all relate because we all know the same pain…

  7. JJ McClay says:

    I know they’ve made mistakes — big ones. (A plantation wedding is so, so wrong.) But I like their statement. It goes further in acknowledging self complicity and past errors than many statements I’ve seen. I think they’re trying to do the right thing.

  8. My3cents says:

    I just remembered her wedding dress was Marchesa.
    So many bad decisions.

    • Mia4s says:

      Yeah her whole Marchesa and hanging with Harvey period always does raise a lot of ….questions. However, he’s in prison, so moving on to pressing issues.

      The statement for perfectly crafted by their publicist, but yeah given their blatant public missteps it’s rather vague. But a good organization got funding, and social media filled in the blanks so…OK.

  9. Elaine says:

    I have complicated feelings toward this. It’s a good first step for them but does it make up for all the racist things they (especially Blake) have done? Absolutely not. But is promising to see some acknowledgement and introspection and I’m glad that they said and did something. They should keep the donations coming… agreed that 200K is nothing for them.

    • Ali says:

      This is a start in the right direction.

      200k is still a lot of money.

      Another millionaire donated $50.

    • Mrs. Peel says:

      Drake’s net worth is much higher at $170 million, and he donated $100k to BLM. Peanuts to him.

  10. Case says:

    A plantation wedding is despicable. No question. To me, plantations should only serve as museums to highlight the history of slavery and honor those who lived and died as slaves. The continued glorification of the “Old South” and “Southern hospitality” horrifies me. Southern hospitality was used as a way for southerners to distract from the fact that they were also slaveowners, and they were able to be so “hospitable” because their slaves did all the work.

    That said — and I say this as a white person, so maybe it’s not my place — but I think growth should be welcomed and accepted. Better late than never. I’m certainly not the person I was eight years ago. We all grow as we educate ourselves more, and I think that’s something to encourage rather than dismiss. I thought their message was very thoughtful and they made a donation to an excellent organization. Again, maybe not my place, but that’s my two cents.

    • Hotsauceinmybag says:

      Someone posted on Instagram “better to show up flawed than not show up at all.” I agree with that. I’d rather have people wanting to learn on our side than have no support at all.

      • sa says:

        “Someone posted on Instagram “better to show up flawed than not show up at all.” ”

        I hadn’t heard that before, but that’s a great way to put it. That will stick with me.

  11. lucy2 says:

    I think they will be pressed on this in interviews in the future, and should be. I think they’re going to need to get more specific in talking about their mistakes, and expressing that they truly get the problems with them.
    That said, listening, educating oneself, donating, and trying every day to do better is good. I hope it’s sincere, and I hope they keep going.

  12. emmy says:

    Let’s judge this in a few years I say. She has spent her entire career promoting herself as the baking cupcake glitter fashion barbie who loves food and doesn’t work out and who wants nothing more than birth children. She got married on a plantation and has glorified the south in the whitest way EVER. She worked with Woody Allen and then berated a reporter who asked about her outfit because suddenly she cared about human trafficking and fashion is so trite. Her husband probably saw that he needed to do some damage control in case anyone remembers. I give them zero credit right now.

    • Lee says:

      Totally agree and I think there’ll be a BlakeLivelyIsOverParty (or Lively&ReynoldsAreOverParty) in the future.
      She’s said some really dumb things in the last few years and somehow she’s always managed to get away with it.

  13. Cecily says:

    I’m not very familiar with them other than their films. However, the plantation thing drew me. Maybe the descendants of slaves in America should decide what should be done with the plantations? It’s their nightmare heritage to heal.

  14. Esmom says:

    I don’t know. I feel like if they weren’t going to apologize for the plantation wedding, maybe they should have just quietly donated the money without making this big announcement about it.

    • lizardqueen says:

      My thoughts exactly.

    • megs283 says:

      I would agree if they’re Joe and Jill Schmoe. But there’s the hope that other rich Hollywood types will follow their example and also donate a ton of money.

    • FB says:

      They would never do that. They are always talking about their donations. They think we HAVE to know everything about it. I wonder why… Are they trying to prove something?

  15. lizardqueen says:

    ……I’m genuinely curious how much they spent on their whole plantation wedding and how that number looks next to their 200k donation. Just very curious. I’m also curious how much money the accepted from Martha Stewart Living for the exclusive access and photos and what that number looks like next to their donation.

  16. Beach Dreams says:

    Yeah this doesn’t mean a damn thing when they’re not actually highlighting their “mistakes” aka the plantation wedding, among other things. If they can’t even vocalize that, then they have a lot more to learn. Blake has also been too consistently ignorant (and proudly so) for me to think it’s truly genuine on her part.

  17. Original Jenns says:

    Wow. Re-reading the Blake Preserve article, a lot of people were defending her. Lots of white fragility.

    I have my own feelings about this (I think they can and should do better, and I don’t think we’ll see much more action from her about this), but I am not a descendant from slaves, and so I will listen to those who are, and accept that.

  18. Darla says:

    I get it, believe me. How can two people have been so blind only a few short years ago? And I agree. However, we have to leave room for white people to grow. Because white people have to grow. We all grew up in a racist society. (and also, a misogynistic society) If we mock people when they show growth and when they commit to self-education, who are we helping? Just my view. But yeah, they should have mentioned that damn wedding, and specifically apologized for it.

  19. Sankay says:

    I definitely believe people can learn and change, however everything RR does appears image driven. Especially since he got the Deadpool role.

  20. SunshineG says:

    It’s nice they did a donation but I strongly wish people would donate to the smaller local organizations doing the protests.

    • sa says:

      I was going to donate to a local organization and their donation page had a statement about all the support they’re getting and asking people to donate elsewhere. I don’t know if that is just this one organization, or if many organizations are getting a boost in donations exceed their current demands and/or their current capacity to effectively utilize. So I found another organization to donate to. But I will remember this one for the future, because I trust their integrity about donations.

  21. donut_nut says:

    I attended a plantation wedding a few years ago. I felt deeply uncomfortable about it, but it was also the home the bride grew up in. I wish I had just said, nah, not going. If this whole thing has taught me anything, it’s to stand up for what I believe in and never look back. I mean, I should have always known this, but for some of us (even non-white folk like me, although I’m not black) to realize.

  22. London Lozza says:

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men to do nothing. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently.

    I would like to think the comments, education and growth made in their statement are genuine made.

    I could not imagine having children and having to end their innocent, precious childhood early by telling them they’re going to be distrusted, abused and mistreated purely for the colour of their skin through their entire lives.

    If the Reynolds-Lively household are educating their children on the oppression other children, including their friends, will face and how it is so fundamentally wrong, hopefully encouraging them to do better, then I for one see no issue with that.

    Their statement did not make the issue fully about them, it acknowledged their past mistakes – But More importantly it stayed focused on highlighting the correct issues and support networks.

    I don’t have to face the daily racism and mocroaggressions, others do, and I can’t even begin to imagine how it must feel, and I wouldn’t dream of insulting anyone by saying otherwise.

    Believe me when I say I want to know what more I can do, so I can be a better ally. I see my privilege, and I acknowledge it, and I honestly want to know how I can use it to make substantial changes.

    Sending love to you all.

  23. Josie says:

    In the spirit of everyone educating themselves more, there was a post awhile back where people were suggesting good books for people to read about implicit bias and how to be a better ally. Does anyone remember what post that was or can anyone suggest some good books?

    • dj says:

      Someone recommended to me tonight “White Fragility” (sorry I don’t know the author’s name but is white). I am going to look up and buy myself.

  24. Meg says:

    Remember when she complained when a costar was asked about allegations #metoo related and she said, ‘i can’t imagine Fred Astaire being asked questions like this’
    I fear Blake really is that self absorbed

    • FB says:

      She thinks Cannes Film Festival is all about fashion. She didn’t like those questions about Woody Allen.

    • oh says:

      She only cares about clothes. She couldn’t talk about Woody Allen (Cannes Film Festival) because she thought she was there to talk about fashion.

      • Lee says:

        Lol! Yet when they ‘dared’ asking her about her outfit at some Variety event she snapped at the reporter!

  25. Liz version 700 says:

    It is good that they are trying…maybe? I mean she has had problematic obsessions with all things plantation for a while so good on them for trying to inch away from their problem areas. The money will be helpful I suppose. I grew up in the south going on field trips to plantations to learn about history. I vividly remember being 5 and having picnic lunches at the plantation in the picnic area. I hated these trips. It is finally starting to change more recently, but during my childhood years there was a very idolized view of the “plantation family.” If you go to Myrtle Beach there must be 500 neighborhoods named Plantation manner, Plantation Golf course. I hope the country as a whole becomes more honest about our history of slavery and the problems from it that continue to cause trauma, pain and racial injustice every single day since the Civil War.

  26. Awkward symphony says:

    I dont like Ryan and I never understood what was the hype over his wooden “acting” but let’s wait for more before we put a boycott on them!
    This is a slippery sloop just like the Twitter posts that people are cancelled for! People
    evolve & learn over time, I dont think we should block those acknowledging their mistakes and wanting to help. They said:

    “And this is just a start. We also pledge to stay educated and vote in every local election.”

    Meaning they pledge to give more than 200k. I too was enraged over their plantation wedding. It was inexcusable and they both were adults and knew better but again let’s not deny people that learn & evolve. Also remember that alot of people had weddings in plantations. Heck celebrities like Eva Longoria had photoshoots in one. Unfortunately it’s still considered “artistic” just like those renovating old distilleries or barns

  27. Faye G says:

    Their past mistakes are abominable, hard to get over yet I hope they are sincere in their efforts to change. Sometimes it takes a long time for people to have their eyes opened and recognize their errors. This is a good start from them and I hope to see them continue down this path.

  28. goofpuff says:

    I think it’s really Blake that is the racist southern revisionist who wanted the plantation wedding. Ryan is Canadian so not his history and he never seems to stand up to her racist tone-deaf antics. He’s complicit like Melania who talks about bullying but fails to address her own husband’s issues.

    Maybe the real person growing is Ryan? i can’t see Blake wanting to give her dreams of the luxurious white south built on the backs of a horrific treatment of other human beings. That’s her brand after all.

  29. oh says:

    And they posted about it because they really want us to know they are good people. I’m tired of reading about their donations. These two are so fake.

    • Lee says:

      MTE! He’s been tweeting non stop about his damn gin and mobile company all through the pandemic, he stopped just now bc he’d be thrown under the bus if he didnt. They always try too hard to prove how perfect and kind they are.