5 Celebrities Using Their Star Power To Reform Policing And Justice
Adrianna Ngo Student, UC Berkeley
Thomas Ulrich from Pixabay
In the early days of the widespread protests after George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police, CNN’s Don Lemon questioned why so many celebrities were completely silent on the matter.
Since then, many musicians, athletes and actors have used their social media platforms to actively support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and encourage their followers to demand police reform.
Here are some of the most poignant posts:
Kim Kardashian West
Although she’s been widely mocked for years, West has made serious strides when it comes to criminal justice reform. Before Floyd’s murder, she met with President Trump at least twice to advocate for those who are serving long sentences for non-violent drug offenses.
She is also working towards obtaining her law degree, with the hopes that she can help free those who have been sentenced to long prison terms for non-violent crimes. She plans to take the bar in 2022.
She was one of the first celebrities to comment on George Floyd, writing, “Even though I will never know the pain and suffering they have endured, or what it feels like to try to survive in a world plagued by systemic racism, I know I can use my own voice to help amplify those voices that have been muffled for too long.”
In addition to using social media to raise awareness, she has posted many resources on Instagram so her audience can support the Black Lives Matter cause. This includes encouraging people to donate, sign petitions, and vote in primary elections.
She says, “Diversity, equality, and inclusion are at the core of my businesses and our community,” and thus wants to actively participate in the push for “the change that needs to take place.”
Kayne West created a college fund for George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, Gianna, which fully covers all tuition.
Michael B. Jordan
The actor participated in the Los Angeles Black Lives Matter Protest to show his support for BLM.
At the protest, he stated, “I’m proud to have an inclusion rider and all that good stuff, and I use my power to demand diversity, but it’s time the studios and agencies and all these buildings we stand in front of to do the same.”
Along with telling protestors to vote on his social media platforms, Jordan challenges police brutality and demands that the entertainment industry hire more Black actors and storytellers.
Colin Kaepernick became “the face of the new civil rights movement” when he repeatedly kneeled during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial inequality.
He founded Know Your Rights Camp, a campaign launched to promote the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through self empowerment and education. He continues his civil rights advocacy by speaking out on George Floyd’s death.
When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction.— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) May 28, 2020
The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears, because your violence has brought this resistance.
We have the right to fight back!
Rest in Power George Floyd
He also announced that he will defend people who have been arrested during the Minneapolis protests.
Through Know Your Rights Camp, Kapernick created a Legal Defense Initiative to raise funds to hire defense lawyers and pay legal fees for people who have been impacted by police brutality.
Actor Cole Sprouse has been posting about how he must stand as an ally for people of color.
On June 1, Sprouse posted on Instagram an image of a Black Lives Matter graphic, along with a caption explaining his experience at a Santa Monica protest.
A group of peaceful protesters, myself included, were arrested yesterday in Santa Monica. So before the voracious horde of media sensationalism decides to somehow turn it about me, there’s a clear need to speak about the circumstances: Black Lives Matter. Peace, riots, looting, are an absolutely legitimate form of protest. the media is by nature only going to show the most sensational, which only proves a long standing racist agenda. I was detained when standing in solidarity, as were many of the final vanguard within Santa Monica. We were given the option to leave, and were informed that if we did not retreat, we would be arrested. When many did turn to leave, we found another line of police officers blocking our route, at which point, they started zip tying us. It needs to be stated that as a straight white man, and a public figure, the institutional consequences of my detainment are nothing in comparison to others within the movement. This is ABSOLUTELY not a narrative about me, and I hope the media doesn’t make it such. This is, and will be, a time about standing ground near others as a situation escalates, providing educated support, demonstrating and doing the right thing. This is precisely the time to contemplate what it means to stand as an ally. I hope others in my position do as well. I noticed that there are cameras that roll within the police cruisers during the entirety of our detainment, hope it helps. I’ll speak no more on the subject, as I’m (1) not well versed enough to do so, (2) not the subject of the movement, and (3) uninterested in drawing attention away from the leaders of the #BLM movement. I will be, again, posting the link in my story to a comprehensive document for donations and support.
In this post, Sprouse announced that as he was peacefully protesting, he was detained and arrested. He states these actions further emphasize that now is “a time about standing ground near others as a situation escalates, providing educated support, demonstrating and doing the right thing.”
To further support this movement, Sprouse posted a link to a comprehensive document containing support resources for the Black Lives Matter Movement and encouraged all of his 32.6 million followers to donate, learn more about the subject, and take action.
Keenon Daequan Ray Jackson, more commonly known as YG, is a rapper and longtime supporter of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
However, there is some controversy over how he advocates for this movement.
YG recorded this peaceful demonstration and used the footage for a music video. This music video was for his new track “FTP,” which reprimands the police and their treatment of the Black community.
Many people criticized him for using the moment for commercial purposes.
After many accusations, YG announced, “I don’t question your advocacy and don’t think you should question mine."
For anyone out there talking I don’t question your advocacy and don’t think you should question mine. See you gotta understand that a lot of people out there they see me as a N*gga. They don’t see the black proud man. They see a kid from Bompton and they expect violence. They hear FTP and they think I’m gonna come and burn my city. So we showed up and did it right. We proved them wrong. The real story here is me and Black Lives Matter brought out 50,000 people today to peacefully protest and unite for change. I wanted to document that so when they hear this song and think we are reckless and violent they see a peaceful protest of all different people coming together for a common cause. That is history. That is breaking down these stereotypes on our people and our neighborhoods. All of us protesting are on the same side here..instead of questioning each other’s activism we should be directing that energy at the cops and the government and helping to create the change we want to see. Stay focused and stop that social media judgement without knowing facts and hurting a cause we all a part of. We got a real enemy and it ain’t eachother. On my momma! ? @yakooza
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