It was only last week that Jesse Williams delivered his powerful and galvanizing speech at the BET Awards about standing up for equal rights and justice for the black community. Today, his message is more relevant than ever.
After the death of Alton Sterling at the hands of Baton Rouge police, and now the fatal shooting of Philando Castile after a routine traffic stop by Minnesota police, celebrities like Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Zendaya have all shared their responses on social media. Last night Drake posted a thoughtful statement on Instagram, specifically in response to Sterling’s death, expressing his distress over the murder of black people at the hands of law enforcement in America and calling for “open and honest dialogue.”
“I am grateful to be able to call America my second home. Last night when I saw the video of Alton Sterling being killed, it left me feeling disheartened, emotional, and truly scared. I woke up this morning with a strong need to say something.
It’s impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago. No one begins their life as a hashtag. Yet the trend of being reduced to one continues.
This is real and I’m concerned. Concerned for the safety of my family, my friends, and any human being that could fall victim to this pattern. I do not know the answer. But I believe things can change for the better. Open and honest dialogue is the first step.
My thoughts and prayers are with the Sterling family and any family that has lost someone to this cycle of violence.
Be safe out there. More life.”
It feels like the fight for justice for the black people who have been murdered by police officers gets reset every time law enforcement kills someone else. While the expectation for celebrities to engage in social issues will always be up for debate, hopefully, the more public figures take part in the discussion, the more these injustices and the racism that fuels them will find mainstream recognition. And perhaps some real change can finally happen. We're waiting.