Stars to Wear Black to BAFTAs

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The blackout is heading across the pond.

Black is so hot right now.

Following Hollywood's lead, British stars attending this year's BAFTAs in London are planning to wear black as a gesture of solidarity with Hollywood's Time's Up movement and women who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

The decision was inspired by this month's Golden Globes blackout. A letter reportedly circulating among British film and TV leaders obtained by THR states that the BAFTA blackout is a show of unity across the entertainment industries in the U.K. and Europe as well. 

"With BAFTA being the first major film awards ceremony in Europe this year, we feel it is important to make a statement to show global solidarity and that the issue is not being forgotten, and to join hands with people across all industries who have experienced inequality and abuse," reads the letter, which adds that there are also some yet-to-be-announced "exciting plans" in the pipeline.

Prior to the nominations announcement, BAFTAs president Jane Lush stated that she "wholeheartedly endorsed" the Globes blackout and the Time's Up movement, according to Deadline.

Among this year's nominees are Americans Frances McDormand, Daniel Day-Lewis, Allison Janney and Octavia Spencer, as well as their non-American counterparts like Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan, all of whom participated in the Golden Globes blackout Jan. 7.

The all-black dress code has caught fire not just across the pond, but in Washington, D.C., too. At last night's State of the Union address, members of Congress dressed in black as a show of solidarity with the #MeToo movement. Many also affixed the Time's Up pin, designed by American costume designer Arianne Phillips, to their pantsuits and skirt suits.  

Though there was some trepidation about the execution (and efficacy) of a dress code, the Golden Globes blackout was widely heralded as a success and a visually striking display of unity. With a few weeks still to find black gowns, BAFTA nominees will hopefully be spared the last-minute scramble that stressed many designers in the days leading up to the Globes. (However, one also wonders if all the good options are taken.)

This year's show will take place Feb. 18 at Royal Albert Hall in London. For the first time in 12 years, the BAFTAs will be hosted by a woman, Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley.

Read the letter below:

Dear BAFTA Guest,

We write to you on behalf of a collective of UK based female film and television industry leaders. We got together at the end of last year, in response to the sexual harassment scandals in our industry and beyond.

Inspired by the TIME’S UP movement in the US,  we are working to continue the incredible movement this side of the Atlantic. With BAFTA being the first major film awards ceremony in Europe this year, we feel it is important to make a statement to show global solidarity and that the issue is not being forgotten, and to join hands with people across all industries who have experienced inequality and abuse.

This is why we are inviting you to wear black to the awards ceremony, to follow suit from our sisters who attended the Golden Globes. Wearing black is a strong, unifying and simple statement - a physical and visual representation of our solidarity with people across all industries who have experienced sexual harassment and abuse or have been held back due to an imbalance in power. It is also the easiest colour for the majority to wear and feel comfortable in.

Here in the UK, more than half of all women and nearly two-thirds of women aged 18 to 24 have experienced sexual harassment at work. And we hope that those of us who are privileged enough to have a platform, can use it to raise awareness of the experiences of women beyond our industry, whose experiences are often silenced and marginalized.

At this point, we are keeping things under wraps as the UK-side movement shapes up and we'll have some exciting plans to announce soon.

We wanted to personally reach out to you at this point to let you know of the colour code and we will be in touch again with more information, including talking points on why we're wearing black.

For men, there are plans for special pins and/or a buttonhole if you would like one.

If you would be interested in bringing a women’s rights, equality, workplace rights activist with you to the awards, we would love to work with you to set that up – as it was a very successful part of the Golden Globes action.

In Solidarity.

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