Celebrities across the world are using their platform to speak out against systemic racism and police brutality in messages of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Across the world, people are uniting to take a stand against racism and police brutality following massive protests over the death of George Floyd in the US. Communities are mourning and fighting for him, Breonna Taylor, Sylva Tukula, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and countless others who have suffered and died under an inhumane system.
In light of these tragedies, celebrities are amplifying the voices of Black Lives Matter movement through calls for action and change. Across social media, there has been an out-pour in solidarity, showing an immense power in standing together.
Here are some of the celebrities who are speaking out on the Black Lives Matter movement:
Justice Smith – ‘The revolution is not about appeal’
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@nckash and I protested today in New Orleans. We chanted ‘Black Trans Lives Matter’ ‘Black Queer Lives Matter’ ‘All Black Lives Matter’. As a black queer man myself, I was disappointed to see certain people eager to say Black Lives Matter, but hold their tongue when Trans/Queer was added. I want to reiterate this sentiment: if your revolution does not include Black Queer voices, it is anti-black. If your revolution is okay with letting black trans people like #TonyMcDade slip through the cracks in order to solely liberate black cishet men, it is anti-black. You are trying to push yourself through the door of a system designed against you, and then shut the door behind you. It is in our conditioning to get as close to whiteness, straightness, maleness as we can because that’s where the power is. And if we appeal to it, maybe it’ll give us a slice. But the revolution is not about appeal. It is about demanding what should have been given to us from the beginning. What should have been given to black, queer, and trans individuals from the beginning. Which is the right to exist. To live and prosper in public. Without fear of persecution or threat of violence. There is so much tragedy on the timeline these last couple of days so I added some photos of me and Nic to show some #blackboyjoy #blacklove #blackqueerlove ❤️????? You’ve been my rock and guiding light through all of this and I love you so much. I know that on the other side of this Is change, though the fight is far from over. #justicefortonymcdade #justiceforninapop #justiceforgeorgefloyd #justiceforahmaud #justiceforbreonna #sayhername #defundthepolice #endwhitesupremacy
On Instagram, Detective Pikachu actor, Justice Smith, came out as queer in a moving call for amplifying the voices of LGBT+ people of colour. He shared a video from a New Orleans protest, which he attended with fellow actor and boyfriend, Nicholas Ashe.
Speaking about the protest, Smith wrote, “We chanted ‘Black Trans Lives Matter,’ ‘Black Queer Lives Matter,’ ‘All Black Lives Matter’. As a black queer man myself, I was disappointed to see certain people eager to say Black Lives Matter, but hold their tongue when Trans/Queer was added.”
The actor further stated, “If your revolution does not include Black Queer voices, it is anti-black. If your revolution is okay with letting black trans people like #TonyMcDade slip through the cracks in order to solely liberate black cishet men, it is anti-black.”
Drag Race royalty – ‘It’s time to stand up, it’s time to speak out, it’s time to do the work’
40 legendary past and present competitors of RuPaul’s Drag Race have come together to share a message of solidarity and call for action. World of Wonder’s It’s Time video includes queens such as Divina De Campo, Gia Gunn, Heidi N Closet, Honey Mahogany, Jinkx Monsoon, Jujubee, Mariah, Raven, Vivacious and The Vixen.
In the five minute video, the queens passionately declare, “It’s time for justice. It’s time to take action. It’s time to sign petitions. It’s time to be held accountable. It’s time to stand up. It’s time to speak out. It’s time to do the work.”
Current All Stars season 5 queen, Jujubee states that it is time to “scream for people who cannot scream anymore.”
Mariah Paris Balenciaga expressed, “It’s time to hold authority accountable.”
Scarlet Envy shared, “It’s time to listen to the voices that need to be amplified louder and before my own, so that as an ally I understand how best I can help.”
Beyoncé – ‘Make Them See’
During a commencement address at YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” virtual graduation ceremony, legendary singer-songwriter Beyoncé delivered a uplifting speech to queer Black youths, addressing racism, sexism, masculinity, and celebrating queerness. She expressed,“We’ve seen that our collective hearts, when put to positive action, could start the wheels of change. Real change has started with you, this new generation of high school and college graduates who we celebrate today.”
Beyoncé further said, “If you’re part of a group that’s called ‘other’, a group that does not get the chance to be centre stage – build your own stage, and make them see you. Your queerness is beautiful. Your Blackness is beautiful. Your compassion, your understandingly, your fight for people who may be different from you, is beautiful. I hope you continue to go into the world and show them that you will never stop being yourself, that it’s your time now. Make them see.”
Lady Gaga – “In this moment, all of us are being invited to challenge that system”
The iconic singer, Lady Gaga, opens up her commencement address for YouTube’s Dear Class of 2020 series by acknowledging the fact she had recorded a different message for the class before the death of George Floyd. Whereas previously she took time in speaking about the impact of the ongoing pandemic, she now calls for the uprooting of entrenched systemic racism.
In her address, Lady Gaga said, “You are watching what is a pivotal moment in this country’s evolution. You are watching society change in a deeply important way. This change will be slow and we will have to be patient, but change will happen and it will be for the better.”
The singer further stated, “I believe in my heart that the people who are going to make this change happen are listening to this speech right now. You are the seeds that will grow into a new and different forest that is far more beautiful.”
Lizzo – ‘It’s time to not just take on the world, it’s time to create a NEW one with equality for all’
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Congratulations to the class of 2020. The truth seekers and disrupters of the future! It’s time to not just take on the world, it’s time to create a NEW one with equality for all. Let’s goooooooooooooo! (Thank you @nyphilharmonic for making my high school dream come true) @sashabefluting ✊?? musical direction @q_thervandross
Among the many celebrities who addressed the Black Lives Matter movement during YouTube’s Dear Class of 2020 series, the iconic performer, Lizzo, delivered a phenomenal flute piece. On Instagram, she said her performance was dedicated to those who will be creating change in the world. She wrote, “Congratulations to the class of 2020. The truth seekers and disrupters of the future! It’s time to not just take on the world, it’s time to create a NEW one with equality for all. Let’s goooooooooooooo!”
Commemorating the tragic passing of Breonna Taylor, Lizzo posted, “SAY HER NAME. DEMAND JUSTICE ON HER BIRTHDAY. NO ARRESTS HAVE BEEN MADE.”
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Today would’ve been #breonnataylor birthday. She should be here. Instead she was murdered by police in what they’re calling a “clerical error”. They barged into her home without knocking and shot her in her sleep. She worked for us during the covid pandemic, she was an innocent civilian. SAY HER NAME. DEMAND JUSTICE ON HER BIRTHDAY. NO ARRESTS HAVE BEEN MADE. @govandybeshear @senatemajldr @drrandpaul @danieljaycameron MAKE THIS RIGHT. Post by @ju.niyah ?
Kim Petras – ‘Black Trans Lives have always and will always matter’
Trans pop icon, Kim Petras, has been speaking out and amplifying queer Black voices on her social media accounts as well as calling on her fans to sign a petition to ensure police accountability for the death of George Floyd. On Instagram, she wrote, “#tonymcdade #ninapop, We owe you everything ! Happy pride !” accompanied with a image stating Black Trans Lives have always and will always matter.
Following JK Rolwing’s anti-trans tweets, Kim commented, “maam … read the room and post about BLM! How is this the right time to go off on this?”
Billie Eilish – ‘Say it again’
The talented, Billie Eillish, spoke out against the All Lives Matter hashtag on her Instagram. She wrote, “I’ve been trying to take this week to figure out how to address this delicately. I have an enormous platform, and I try really hard to be respectful and take time to think through what I say and how I say it…….but holy f**king sh*t I’m just gonna start talking. If I hear one more person say “aLL liVeS maTteR” one more f**king time I’m gonna lose my f**king mind.”
The singer further addressed the problematic All Live Matter hashtag, “This is not about you. Stop making everything about you. You are not in need. You are not in danger.”
Lil Nas X – ‘Silence equals complicity’
The chart-topping rap star Lil Nas X has been speaking out against police brutality across his social media accounts. On Twitter, he wrote, “This riot/protest situation is the same as a child being bullied at school. you are silent while they are being mistreated but upset when they finally snap back. had u spoke up while they were being mistreated they wouldn’t have had to snap back. silence equals complicity.”
this riot/protest situation is the same as a child being bullied at school. you are silent while they are being mistreated but upset when they finally snap back. had u spoke up while they were being mistreated they wouldn’t have had to snap back. silence equals complicity.
— nope (@LilNasX) May 31, 2020
Addressing the potential for disconnecting with people due to celebrity status, Lil Nas X shared, “A lot of us celebrities get so comfortable where we are we forget the problems we faced before our rise. we speak out against the people who are in the same position we were in. And it’s sad.”
John Boyega – ‘I believe any great movement starts with a renewal of the mind’
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I want to thank you all for the love and support you have shared over the last few days, although nothing I have done is for praise, or is truly even enough, in the grand scheme of things. This is an intense time for our community, and the most important thing is for us to maintain momentum and not lose sight of how critical it is to pursue long term solutions and commitments, for the sake of our generation, and the next. Our individual pursuits of success and belonging remain, but now more than ever, it’s important to use this movement as fuel to inspire new ways of thinking, building, and growing, together. I believe any great movement starts with a renewal of the mind. I know you’re all thinking, what’s next? Where do we go from here? Because I’m thinking the same shit! Conversations about black businesses, ownership and support are happening, and I will continue to have these conversations with the full intention of birthing ideas that are sustainable and tangible. Let’s increase our knowledge! I’m excited to see an awakening happening in all of us! I’ll continue to use my platform to fight against the injustices and inequalities in our community, no matter what. Nonetheless, one man can’t do it alone – I need you, and we need each other! We need everyone, across industry’s, soci-economic backgrounds, countries, to unite with a shared goal of REAL change. Before the pandemic hit, I visited a few schools in Southwark, to share my journey and to truly understand the minds and needs of our next generation. It was eye opening and inspiring to say the least, and I look forward to continuing this work, and contributing more, once it is safe to do so. I urge the black men of our community, my peers, to do the same. Connecting with our kids and motivating them towards a future that is stronger and brighter, is urgent, and necessary. In the meantime, let’s work on clearing the runway for them, so they can take off, and fly. Love everyone, and stay safe x
Star Wars actor, John Boyega, delivered a passionate and heartfelt speech at a Black Lives Matter protest in London on June 3. He spoke openly about how this might affect his career but he did not care in light of the issue. He said, “Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting.”
Following his speech, Boyega shared his overwhelming gratitude towards people’s support on Instagram. He wrote, “It’s important to use this movement as fuel to inspire new ways of thinking, building, and growing, together. I believe any great movement starts with a renewal of the mind. I know you’re all thinking, what’s next? Where do we go from here? Because I’m thinking the same shit!”
Hozier – ‘Where words might fall short, failing to offer them at all is far worse’
Irish musician, Andrew John Hozier-Byrne, spoke about the monumental legacy of Black artists and the importance in recognising this history. On Twitter, he wrote the following statement, “Words so often fail in times like this, but where words might fall short, failing to offer them at all is far worse.”
A few thoughts… pic.twitter.com/RYGCKojzqI
— Hozier (@Hozier) June 6, 2020
Speaking about the importance in addressing racism within Ireland, Hozier stated, “Irish society has a great deal to reflect upon with regard its own problems with racism and how it manifest in institutions here.” He has pledged to donate to Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, Pavee Point Traveller and the Roma Centre.
Across the world, celebrities, activists, and community members are speaking out and uniting to stand against an unjust system as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. People are using their platforms towards sharing calls for action and increasing visibility. By standing together, they are showing the immense power in solidarity.
In Ireland, there are numerous groups dedicated to combating racism in Ireland. If you would like to support them, follow these links: MASI, MERJ, Black Pride Ireland, Queer Diaspora Ireland and Origins Eile.
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