A number of musicians are using their platform to call for justice for the killing of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis on May 25 after police officer Derek Chauvin, who’s now been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, pinned him to the ground using his knee during an arrest.
Yesterday (May 30), Beyoncé posted a video to her Instagram account. “We need justice for George Floyd. We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight,” she said. “We’re broken and we’re disgusted. We cannot normalise this pain. I’m not only speaking to people of colour. If you’re white, black, brown or anything in between, I’m sure you feel hopeless by the racism going on in America right now.”
She added: “No more senseless killings of human beings. No more seeing people of color as less than human. We can no longer look away. George is all of our family and humanity. He is our family because he is a fellow American. There have been too many times that we’ve seen these violent killings and no consequences. Yes, someone’s been charged, but justice is far from being achieved.”
In a post on Instagram, Rihanna spoke of the “magnitude of devastation, anger, sadness” she’s felt over the last few days, adding that “watching my people get murdered and lynched day after day pushed me to a heavy place in my heart!” She added: “If intentional MURDER is the fit consequence for ‘drugs’ or ‘resisting arrest’….then what’s the fit consequence for MURDER???!”
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For the last few days, the magnitude of devastation, anger, sadness I’ve felt has been overwhelming to say the least! Watching my people get murdered and lynched day after day pushed me to a heavy place in my heart! To the point of staying away from socials, just to avoid hearing the blood curdling agony in George Floyd’s voice again, begging over and over for his life!!! The look of enticement, the pure joy and climax on the face of this bigot, murderer, thug, pig, bum, Derek Chauvin, haunts me!! I can’t shake this! I can’t get over an ambulance pulling up to an arrest, a paramedic checking a pulse without removing the very thing that’s hindering it! Is this that fucking normal??? If intentional MURDER is the fit consequence for “drugs” or “resisting arrest”….then what’s the fit consequence for MURDER???! #GeorgeFloyd #AhmaudArbery #BreonnaTaylor
On May 29th, Killer Mike made an emotional speech at the Atlanta Mayor’s Press Conference advocating for systemic change. “I am duty-bound to be here to simply say: That it is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy,” he said. “It is your duty to fortify your own house, so that you may be a house of refuge in times of organization. And now is the time to plot, plan, strategize, organize, and mobilize.”
The rapper then addressed the protests that have been raging across the US, saying: “So that’s why children are burning it to the ground. They don’t know what else to do. And it is the responsibility of us to make this better right now. We don’t want to see one officer charged, we want to see four officers prosecuted and sentenced. We don’t want to see Targets burning, we want to see the system that sets up for systemic racism burnt to the ground.”
Killer Mike and El-P also announced they would be sharing Run The Jewels 4, which is set for release on June 5, for free following George Floyd protests. “For me this is the only way i really know how to contribute to the human struggle and experience beyond just trying to be kind and aware and grow,” El-P wrote on Instagram.
Earlier in the week, Janelle Monáe expressed her frustration on Twitter, writing: “I’m tired of talking. We need action NOW. Fucking furious.”
I’m tired of talking . We need action NOW . Fucking furious . #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd
— Janelle Monáe, Cindi Mayweather (@JanelleMonae) May 27, 2020
Mariah Carey posted a video in which she sings a snippet of her 1990 song ‘There’s Got to Be a Way’. The caption reads: ‘We have to make a change. We can’t be silent. #BlackLivesMatter ‘Text ‘FLOYD’ to 55156 to demand #JusticeForFloyd 🎵 I don’t understand how there can be regulated bigotry. There’s got to be a way to connect this world today 🎵’
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I wrote this song for my first album. Still looking for answers today. We have to make a change. We can't be silent. #BlackLivesMatter Text 'FLOYD' to 55156 to demand #JusticeForFloyd 🎵 I don't understand how there can be regulated bigotry There's got to be a way to connect this world today 🎵
A number of white musicians have also expressed solidarity with the black community, while also acknowledging their white privilege. Harry Styles wrote on Twitter: “I do things every day without fear, because I am privileged, and I am privileged every day because I am white. Being not racist is not enough, we must be anti racist. Social change is enacted when a society mobilises. I stand in solidarity with all of those protesting.”
I do things every day without fear, because I am privileged, and I am privileged every day because I am white.
Being not racist is not enough, we must be anti racist.
Social change is enacted when a society mobilizes.
I stand in solidarity with all of those protesting. pic.twitter.com/45MSXAWEJl
— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) May 30, 2020
Elsewhere, Lady Gaga shared a statement saying she is “outraged” by the death of George Floyd. She added: “The voices of the black community have been silenced for too long and that silence has proven deadly time and time again. And no matter what they do to protest, they are still met with no compassion by the leaders that are meant to protect them. Everyday people in America are racist, that’s a fact. Right now is a critical time for the black community to be supported by all other communities so we can put a stop to something that is intrinsically wrong by the grace of God or whatever creator you do or do not believe in.”
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) May 31, 2020
Bon Iver led a $30,000 fundraising effort in support of the George Floyd Memorial Fund and other racial equality organizations in the US. He wrote in a statement: “The hurt and rage in Minneapolis-Saint Paul right now are [sic] harrowing. We are deeply concerned for the safety of the people in the streets protesting for justice. Their bravery is astounding and inspiring. A police state cannot fix what a police state has broken. Only equal freedom and protection of all citizens can begin to reset the scales of justice.”
— Bon Iver (@boniver) May 29, 2020
Billie Eilish also spoke out to denounce those pushing for ‘all lives matter’. “If all lives matter, why are black people killed for just being black? Why are white people given opportunities that people of other races aren’t?” she wrote. “Why is it ok for black people to be called thugs for protesting the murder of innocent people? Do you know why???? White. fucking. privilege.”
In the wake of the protests, hundreds of artists, including Janelle Monáe, Noname, Thundercat, and Halsey, have shown their support for the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which provides access to bail money for protestors who have been arrested.
Below, read more statements from Cardi B, Taylor Swift, Ice Cube, Sia, and Garbage.
— iamcardib (@iamcardib) May 29, 2020
After stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism your entire presidency, you have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence? ‘When the looting starts the shooting starts’??? We will vote you out in November. @realdonaldtrump
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) May 29, 2020
How long will we go for Blue on Black Crime before we strike back??? https://t.co/sXDq7SXl6W
— Ice Cube (@icecube) May 26, 2020
George Floyd was murdered.
That officer needs to be charged.
What the actual fuck. @GovTimWalz WHY HAVE THEY NOT BEEN CHARGED?
— sia (@Sia) May 27, 2020
I just signed a petition to demand that the 4 police officers involved in murdered George Floyd be arrested and charged immediately. You should too: https://t.co/vuYvD7mrKt
— Garbage (@garbage) May 27, 2020