The nationwide protests that sparked due to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have not lost steam. In the past weeks, hundreds of thousands of citizens have taken to the streets to demand an end to the systemic injustices faced by African Americans and other marginalized groups in the US.
Worldwide, the protests have taken on a larger meaning, calling for an end to white supremacy as well as addressing historical wrongs done to oppressed peoples around the world. From Tearing down a statue of the infamous mass-murdering rapist, Christopher Columbus in Virginia to the citizens of Brussels chanting “murderer” and demanding the removal of a statue venerating King Leopold II– whose use of the Congo as his own personal playground of genocide and torture was so atrocious, it’d make Ramsay Bolton say “dang, that’s messed up” …or maybe not
Amid the COVID Crisis, people are risking their lives and health to demand change. Lending their voices to the cause have been dozens of celebrities, many of whom have chosen to go a step farther than just “speaking” out and have taken to the streets to demand equality.
Michael B. Jordan
Michael B. Jordan spoke at a Black Lives Matter protest on June 6, in Los Angeles California. In an impassioned speech, Jordan spoke out about systematic inequality and how he’s learned from the powerful characters that he’s portrayed over the years, such as Bryan Stevenson in Just Mercy. In his call to continued fighting against discrimination and oppression, he urged Hollywood to commit to hiring equality for African Americans in all areas of the entertainment industry. Erik Killmonger would be proud.
Actor Michael B Jordan speaks to protestors
“Where is the challenge to commit to Black hiring? Black content lead by Black executives, Black consultants.”
(🎥 @producerTommy / @blacklovedoc) #BlackLivesMatter #BlackMediaMatters pic.twitter.com/0yCKwwSGOg
— NICK HAMILTON (@NickHamiltonLA) June 6, 2020
“We can’t be complacent. We can’t let this moment just pass us by, we have
to continue to put our foot on their necks.” – Michael B. Jordan
Pointing out the potentially incendiary comments made by Donald Trump—such as “when the looting starts, the shooting starts and calling on Americans to use their 2nd amendment rights against protestors—Keke Palmer pleaded with members of the national guard to show that they are truly there to protect the people. In a Los Angeles Protests, Palmer implored the Guardsmen to “March Beside Us.” The guards, however, could not, stating that they had to (understandably) remain at their posts. They did however kneel with the protestors with the lead officer telling Palmer that he “absolutely supports” her right to protest.
Watch all of this. pic.twitter.com/YHq0QhXrnw
— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) June 2, 2020
Steph and Ayesha Curry
Steph Curry and his wife Ayesha Curry continued their commitment to social activism by attending several protests in Oakland and Palo Alto. Curry was seen taking a knee and chanting “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” along with fellow protesters. Steph and Ayesha were joined by Fellow Warriors players including Juan Toscano-Anderson, Klay Thompson, Damion Lee, and Kevon Looney.
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Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton showed TF up today. Here are 3 mins of peaceful protestors. I had to step off to the side during our route to record this and share. This isn’t even half of the crowd that showed up. We marched over 6.5 miles. Just incredible. Thank you beautiful people. #wearethecure #blacklivesmatter
Rapper and artist JCole joined protesters in his hometown of Fayetteville North Carolina. Though the singer was masked, eagle-eyed fans spotted him in a crowd of protesters in downtown Fayetteville. Cole later responded to the announcement that the Minneapolis police department would be disbanding with tweeting out a news article with the caption: Powerful, Powerful
Powerful powerful. https://t.co/h3dCOEmEjS
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) June 7, 2020
If “Woke Mitt Romney” comes as a shock to you, then you don’t know Mitt or his dad and should probably look up some of the more progressive and at times liberal stances he’s taken while serving as Senator of Massachusetts. The former presidential candidate and self-proclaimed social liberal said he felt compelled to join the protests in Washington DC due to the “heinous murder” of George Floyd. Romney was joined in the march by several members of his family.
“One of the fundamental principles of Christianity is that we’re all sons and daughters of the same God. A fundamental principle of this country is that we’re entitled to equal rights under the law and that we are all esteemed as brothers and sisters…I state the obvious, which is black lives matter.” – Mitt Romney
No Americans should fear enmity and harm from those sworn to protect us. The death of George Floyd must not be in vain: Our shock and outrage must grow into collective determination to extinguish forever such racist abuse.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 28, 2020
Fiona Apple joined a #BlackLivesMatter protest in Santa Monica, California. Apple marched carrying a sign that read “Cops: Don’t Be White Chauvinists Arrest the Other Three!!!” and was filmed pulling her mask down to impassionedly scream “Black Lives Matter!”
Machine Gun Kelly & Travis Barker
Rapper, Machine Gun Kelly and Blink 182’s Travis Barker joined together in protests in Los Angeles, the footage of which was used for the music video of their cover of Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the name of—an anthem about police brutality, corruption, and racism in law enforcement. Kelly has been spotted at multiple protests around Hollywood and Los Angeles and in response to a twitter troll who threatened to delete Kelly’s albums for attending, Kelly Responded “I don’t want your racist money.”
“All they had to do was the right thing…😞😤 i’m outside until they make the change” – Kelly
Wearing a mask that covered most of his face, West attempted to march alongside protesters on Chicago’s South Side. His presence was short-lived as the protest began to devolve due to the press swarming him. The organizers shouted that it “Not About Kanye” and was a “youth-led” protest and that they didn’t want a celebrity hijacking it. West has since committed to donating two-million dollars to the legal fees for any civil suits filed by Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery’s families.
Organizers are saying “this is not about Kanye” as press swarms him pic.twitter.com/rU1wgoPogY
— Grace Hauck (@grace_hauck) June 5, 2020
Battered / Arrested
Fans spotted Kendrick Sampson, star of HBO’s Insecure, on the Front Lines of a Los Angeles protest being pushed back by police and hit by batons on CNN. The actor has been calling for widespread changes and reform in the LAPD. Sampson says he was shot 7 times with rubber bullets by police at one of the #BlackLivesMatterLA protests and showed photos of his bloodied calf in a tweet urging the Mayor of LA to respond to an invitation to attend a #BLMLA protest. In a recent Instagram Live Session with Kerry Washington, Sampson urged African Americans, Indigenous, and other marginalized communities to not neglect their mental health in the face of generations of sustained trauma.
I know I saw you in this video pic.twitter.com/xQGAk2TH4K
— Just Kim (@SmokeYahBlunt) May 31, 2020
Former Orange is the New Black star, Matthew McGorry has been active at multiple protests in and around Los Angeles. The actor and social activist posted videos to his Instagram and Twitter accounts showing police-led violence against peaceful protesters. In one incident, McGorry filmed police opening fire on protesters who were walking/running away. McGorry says while participating in the protests, he was shot in the back with rubber bullets.
Pop singer Halsey took part in Los Angeles #BLM protests and documented her experiences of the peaceful protest turning violent as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters. In the tweet, the singer wrote “We didn’t breach the lines, our hands were up.”
“A true patriot is someone who will rebel against the government if it becomes necessary, to protect the greater good of their fellow citizens. We are patriots…If you are not, you are a coward. THIS is what democracy looks like.” – Halsey
fired rubber bullets at us. we did not breach the line. hands were up. unmoving. and they gassed and fired. pic.twitter.com/K8YauF0APn
— h (@halsey) May 31, 2020
Cole Spouse was arrested while protesting in Santa Monica. The Riverdale star was seen with a group of about a dozen protesters holding up signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe.” After his release, Sprouse went right back to protesting.
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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.
Honorable Mention: BTS/BTS Army/KPOP Stans
BTS announced that they would be donating $1 million dollars to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. They also spoke out on Twitter taking a stance against racial discrimination.
우리는 인종차별에 반대합니다.
우리는 폭력에 반대합니다.
나, 당신, 우리 모두는 존중받을 권리가 있습니다. 함께 하겠습니다.
We stand against racial discrimination.
We condemn violence.
You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.#BlackLivesMatter
— 방탄소년단 (@BTS_twt) June 4, 2020
This led to both the “BTS Army” and KPOP fans in general flooding anti-protest/ bigoted hashtags such as #WhiteLivesMatters and #BlueLivesMatter with memes and fancams to ensure the voices of equality and justice are heard over intentional ignorance and racism. Way to go ARMY /KPop Stans.
— Pringle Lady (@MusicalPringle) June 9, 2020
— kpop got me broke (@UwU_Kween) June 4, 2020