SAG-AFTRA Foundation President Courtney B. Vance Sees Many Performers “Safe-Spacing” At Home For Months

SAG-AFTRA Foundation president Courtney B. Vance, whose weekly “fireside chats” have offered messages of hope, generosity and dogged determination during the coronavirus shutdown, is cautioning against letting our guard down amid the reopening.”

I know that many of you are preparing for a few more months of continued safe-spacing in your homes,” he said tonight in his eighth video message to the union’s members. “Now, while that may not have been the timeline most of us were wishing for, I hope you’ll continue to take care of your bodies and your minds. Our health is paramount right now for getting us through this, and I hope you’ll continue to prioritize it. Remember, we’re all in this together.”

See his latest fireside chat here:

“We all have some very strong emotions right through here,” he says from his backyard, birds twittering in the background. “We’re living in unprecedented times. In the blink of an eye, life as we knew it completely shifted – seemingly overnight. As performers, we may have more emotions than most. Now with that said, I want to encourage you all, in a safe environment, of course, to let it out. If you need to yell – yell; if you need to project – sing, monologue, dance – put it out there. Every day, if need be. Let that energy loose. Unleash your nerves, your fears, your frustrations – get rid of them. And then breathe, refocus and begin again dealing with our journey. We’re going to get through this together, one day at a time. So until next week, stay safe; stay connected, and stay home. Grace and peace.”

On the emergency-assistance front, he said the Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund has distributed more than $4.4 million to members of SAG-AFTRA in urgent need, “with hundreds of applications still in review. Aid is now taking less than two weeks to reach members, so we appreciate your continued patience. As always, we’re working as quickly as we can.”

Vance also urged actors to check out the new “My Audition Story” site on the Foundation’s Instagram account, where actors discuss their most memorable casting sessions; among them are Eris Baker (This Is Us), who describes her best audition, and Richard Ellis (I’m Not Okay with This), who recalls his worst.

“It’s honest; it’s relatable, and I think you’ll get something very impactful out of it,” Vance said. “And it should be great site for fans, as well.”

SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Storyline Online Sees Viewership Triple During Pandemic

Vance also noted that his wife, Angela Bassett, will debut a new reading on Wednesday for Storyline Online, the Foundation’s streaming child literacy site where well-known actors read from kids books. She’ll be reading Trombone Shorty, which is inspired by the real-life New Orleans childhood of musician Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty.

“I know many of you are looking for things to do with your young ones,” Vance said, smiling broadly, “and I think this is a great way to keep them busy – and learning.” Each reading comes with a downloadable activity guide for teachers and parents.


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