Former President Obama celebrated the end of the Hollywood strikes in a surprise appearance at a screening of the Netflix biopic “Rustin.”
The screening of their movie was held in the Oprah Winfrey Theater at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., on the opening night of the Historically Black College and University First Look Film Festival.
“It’s great to see even more of you since the strikes are over,” Obama told the crowd full of students from Morgan State University, Bowie State University and Howard University, The Hollywood Reporter reported.
The president’s former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and current White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre were also in attendance.
The event celebrated the end of the Hollywood strike. Actors and writers reached a deal with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists earlier this week after a six-month-long strike.
More than 60,000 SAF-AFTRA members went on strike on July 14 and joined screenwriters who had been on strike months before. It was the first time the groups had been on strike since the 1960s. Workers agreed on a three-year contract with the union valued at over a billion dollars. It includes boosts to minimum wages paid to actors and a greater share of streaming revenue going to performers. It boosts benefit plans and protections against artificial intelligence.
Malia Obama, the eldest daughter of the former president, is a screenwriter and director. She’s known for her work on the short The Heart and the TV series Swarm.
“As somebody who cares a lot about the power of workers in this country and as the father of somebody who writes in film, I am glad that both the actors and the writers came to an agreement that recognizes their worth and their work,” Obama said.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama also spoke at the event, where she stressed the importance of civil rights leaders, who are represented in the film.
The movie Rustin sets the stage for the March on Washington, Michelle Obama told the crowd. It’s the latest film from the Obamas’ company Higher Ground Productions.