After over 24 hours since the initial news circulated from the death of Philando Castile, many of us are just beginning to catch our breath. For many, self included, the videotapped execution of Alton Sterling had hit home with a sense of community grief, prayer vigils, and merciless social media rioting. Less than 24 hours later, more video footage emerged as the world watched Philando Castile be executed, all presumably started from a broken tail light.
While we all continue to search for the words to say, thoughts to think, and actions to take in light of the consistent murders of Black men and women (and police officers at the recent shooting in Dallas), we found celebrities utilizing their privilege to speak out against said injustices using social media.
Many took to Twitter to post thought-provoking posts geared toward the technicalities of having actual video proof of Sterling and Castile’s murders; others continued to embrace the #BlackLivesMatter movement by stressing that one can not do anything ‘right’ in a system that gears all they do ‘wrong’.
Key placers such as Rihanna, Drake and Beyonce all issued statements and sentiments of their own, mostly found on Instagram through letters to the people. Drake issued disappointment in the fallacy of the American system, while Beyonce asserted that a stand needed to be made to “stop killing us”. Rihanna posted a video clip of a mother who is also a cop, speaking out against the seemingly increasing rate of police brutality amongst people of color:
I will not lie. It became almost unbearable reading tweets, hashtags, and overdrawn paragraphs from people on both sides of the fence. Various notions of action were posed from vigils to militant anarchy. I found myself fighting back knots in my throat as I watched people say that Blacks needed to act “more civil” and “behaved” in America, that fighting back from the police would result in said actions. I found myself replaying the videos time after time, realizing that no one had resisted arrest, nobody had broken the law, and all were complying. I realized that those that don’t get it, just don’t get it.
Perhaps it is not enough for the ‘common’ citizen to speak out, but people with the big names, brands and power to become involved. After so many started a petition to have Jesse Williams removed from Grey’s Anatomy after his BET acceptance speech, we are reminded now more than ever his words of America’s oppressive nature and our responsibility to ALL have a position is this, is realer than ever.
From Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, to singers, songwriters, actors and more, the world came together under the hashtag #AltonSterling, sharing sentiments of what police brutality and racism is doing not only to the Black community, but to the world.
One of the most moving things seen was Issa Rae’s started GoFundMe account for Alton Sterling’s children. In a matter of a few days, she has helped raise over $500,000 dollars, all of which will go to his family. The sheer power of voices coming together, and backing behind it with militant financial power, shows that we are not alone in this. If led to give, you can do so here.
The President of the United Stats, a BLACK man, stood at the podium and spoke his thoughts and condolescences:
The reality of this is there are no heroes, no champions, no winners and losers. Lives are being lost and tensions are waring thin. At the end of the day, those who have a voice need to actively use it to speak for those that don’t, even when they scream.
As we continue to press on in the face of adversity and continue to seek peace and happiness during these times, we remain forever confident that we will stand united and preservere. Continue to support the advocacy of those that speak, and perhaps reevaluate the ones that don’t.
What do you think? What power lies within the hands of celebrities and what power lies within the hands of the people?