Over the past few weeks, our timelines on social media have been taken over by the Ice Bucket Challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness of Loy Gehrig’s disease or also known as, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Simultaneously, social media has been ignited with conversations about the recent death of Missouri teen Michael Brown and the ever-increasing instances of police brutality aimed at Black boys. In an effort to push the conversation surrounding Brown’s death even further, actor Orlando Jones initiated a new challenge called the “Bullet Bucket Challenge.” In his awareness video, Jones is seen pouring a bucket of shell casings over his head, representing the lives of those who were killed senselessly. Unlike other examples of hashtag activism, Jones’ video was not created for viral sharing but to make a statement about the events surrounding Brown’s death.
In an interview with Fusion.Net, Jones explained his video message in depth as well as the complexity of being apart of the National Rifel Association as well as an active member of the Louisiana police force. Check out what he said.
FUSION: Tell us about your take on the “ice bucket challenge.”
ORLANDO JONES: First of all, the “ice bucket challenge” sort of started elsewhere, and the ALS Association is a completely worthy and incredible organization. They’ve raised millions of dollars, which is kind of amazing.
Thinking about what has been happening in America over the course of the last week, it seemed like tons of celebrities had done the ice bucket challenge to bring attention to the disease. I wanted to do what ALS did, co-opt a viral thing and make it my own, to talk about the insanity happening in Ferguson and just around the world. My parents are like, “It’s the ’60s again.”
Those shell casings in my video represent the people who paid the ultimate cost for the freedoms we have today. I couldn’t find enough bullets to dump on myself to illustrate the number of people who gave their lives for a very important ideal.
FUSION: You said in the video that you’re a lifelong NRA member. That probably comes as a surprise to a lot of people. What’s the background on that?
JONES: I had a cross burned in my front yard when I was in the 6th grade. I grew up in the Deep South and I have a very intimate relationship with race. My father carried a gun. Did he carry it because he was some thug or anarchist or wanted to hurt people? No, he wanted to protect his family. For me, I became a member (of the NRA) because I wanted to affect change in the organization. Do I share all of their ideals? No. I’m not a monolith in culture. I don’t agree with all black people on everything either. I’m a complex person and I wanted to make that point.
FUSION: Were you ever — or rather, how often were you — profiled by police while living in the South?
JONES: I’ve been profiled by a police officer more times than I can count. I’ve had the police pull a gun on me during a routine traffic stop. Like, I think I’d changed lanes without a blinker or something.
I remember when Susan Smith had tragically killed her children and blamed some unknown black male assailant. It was a nationwide all points bulletin to find him. Everyone was looking for a black man in South Carolina, and I was a black man in South Carolina. I was stopped four or five times in those two or three days.
Then the police realized all of that was a hoax and she’d killed her children. But before they realized that, hundreds of black men — I know at least 15 of them personally — were detained and questioned about committing a fictional crime.
To read the rest of Jones’ interview, click here. Watch Jones’ thought provoking video, below.
Would you participate in the “Bullet Bucket Challenge?”