The deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile from police officers’ bullets this week inspired criticism and calls to end state violence and racism against Black communities. Many of those calls came from prominent Black celebrities, including those who are typically silent on social justice issues.
A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Jul 7, 2016 at 12:42pm PDT
Some artists, like Beyoncé, built on themes already central to their art. The “Lemonade” creator posted a call to action on her website and encouarged fans to pressure their legislators and politicians to act:
We’re going to stand up as a community and fight against anyone who believes that murder or any violent action by those who are sworn to protect us should consistently go unpunished.
These robberies of lives make us feel helpless and hopeless, but we have to believe that we are fighting for the rights of the next generation, for the next young men and women who believe in good.
TIDAL (@TIDALHiFi) July 8, 2016
Jay-Z followed his wife’s lead and released a new single, “Spiritual,” addressing similar issues. “No, I’m not poison, just a boy from the hood that/got my hands in the air, in despair, don’t shoot,” he raps on the track, which he released exclusively on Tidal with statement above.
Myriad other rappers, singers, actors, comedians and performers spoke out in their own posts and statements. Some, like Drake and The Weeknd, addressed this topic publicly for the first time:
A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Jul 6, 2016 at 5:50pm PDT
enough is enough. it’s time to stand up for this. we can either sit and watch, or do something about it. the time is now. #blacklivesmatter— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) July 7, 2016
Although I am a black young woman I AM #AltonSterling. Just like Alton I used to sell my CDs outside records, library steps, street corners, etc. My first cousin’s name is Alton. What happened to Alton just reiterates that WE are not truly free. WE are not safe. WE need protection from hunters who hide behind badges. And until every human being, no matter what race you are, realizes this is also your problem and also your job to protect US from murderers like these officers we will never be free. We will always look at you like the enemy. What happened to Alton happens over and over again around this country. We are tired. Tired of IG ING, tweeting, FBooking “RIP” and posting videos of MURDER and shit not change. What these murderers in uniform did should warrant immediate arrest. It’s clear what happened. This man could not even reach a gun if there was one. Video shows that. Someone screams “he has a gun!” and so u kill him? He resisted arrest so that means shoot to KILL HIM?! And you shoot him while he is on the ground 5TIMES?! Any excuse one gives to these cowards with badges will continue to play a part in our extinction. Blood on your hands as well. My heart is mad, heavy, and cries for his family and loved ones . I’m so fucking irate right now but clear minded and moved enough to continue to speak out and help this man and many others seek Justice. #HYTB
A photo posted by Janelle Monáe (@janellemonae) on Jul 6, 2016 at 10:41am PDT
A photo posted by Nicki Minaj (@nickiminaj) on Jul 6, 2016 at 6:44pm PDT
lynchings were public to keep a class system based on race intact in the Jim Crow south. Public Executions by Police 2day do the same.— Killer Mike (@KillerMike) July 7, 2016
We should not have to jump through hoops to prove black people shouldn’t be shot by police during routine traffic stops.— John Legend (@johnlegend) July 7, 2016
How many more times must this happen for us to matter? How many more must we lose?BLACK. LIVES. MATTER. #AltonSterling— Zendaya (@Zendaya) July 6, 2016
If Black Americans are asked to “get over slavery,” seems only fair American cops get over an “overseer mentality” that sees us as a threat.— Wyatt Cenac (@wyattcenac) July 7, 2016
Maybe police departments should ask aspiring cops “are you generally afraid of black people?” before they put them on the force.— Sasheer Zamata (@thesheertruth) July 7, 2016
Did we miss any meaningful tweets or posts? Let us know in the coments.