Across the U.S., and even in many other countries, protesters have taken the street this week to rally against widespread police brutality, systemic racism, and to call attention towards the insufficient charges brought against not only the killers of George Floyd but also the killers of countless other Black victims of racial injustice. In every city protesters have been met by the local police force, in addition to the national guard, all making use of blunt, violent, and instigative tactics. Social media has also been full of callings for change, spreading knowledge or resources, and pointing out the many hypocrisies within our current system. Some of it, however, is performative. This means that some people, often celebrities, may be posting just to give off the allusion that they care, when in reality it is just empty support. One example is with the Glee star Lea Michele. Earlier in the week she tweeted this:
George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesMatter
— Lea Michele (@LeaMichele) May 29, 2020
She was immediately met with backlash from a former co-worker who proved that her intentions could not possibly be genuine when those words did not reflect her actions in reality.
LMAO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISON GIG A LIVING HELL?!?! CAUSE ILL NEVER FORGET. I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF TOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD “SHIT IN MY WIG!” AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGRESSIONS THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD… https://t.co/RkcaMBmtDA
— SAMEYAAAAAA (@Sammie_Ware) June 2, 2020
It also seems that Lana Del Ray has spoken out in support of the movement just days after posting one of the most problematic statements I’ve read in awhile that promotes a white-washed version of feminism. News flash: if your feminism isn’t intersectional we don’t want it.
Other examples of performative behavior appears through donations. I have seen some celebrities proudly post their $50 dollar donations to community bail funds, which is not a lot of money at all considering their celebrity status. In fact, I have even seen my own friends, who are 20-something years old and unemployed, donate more money. This kind of demonstration of support is insulting to the #BlackLivesMatter movement because celebrities are the ones with privilege and capital in our society. Yet, in cases like this, they are refusing to use it, even though they say on social media that they are all for equality and justice. #openyourpurse.
So you wrote all this just to justify donating 50 dollars……… open your purse 👛 pic.twitter.com/zqH52QTKr7
— Johnny Boy 🧚🏾♂️✨ (@JohnTheeFame) June 2, 2020
What I find to be the most dangerous, though, is celebrities who have not spoken up at all, or even worse, spreading the wrong message. Most of these people have a gigantic following, making the impression that they leave on the people that are influenced by them noticeable. It is an unfortunate truth, but celebrities set an example for A LOT of people on these kinds of things. So, it is important for celebrities to use their privilege wisely in times like these. They also need to show their activism, and then act on it, because they are the ones with the money to financially support a movement. In addition, celebrities, especially white celebrities, should make it their mission to amplify Black voices at this time, instead of raising their own. Let Black people grieve, vent, scream, and mobilize. It is up to the celebrity to make an effort to elevate their words because celebrities have the audience and the means to do so. And, let’s not forget that while at protests that same advice applies because white celebrities have the privilege of getting out of an arrest situation without serious repercussions, for the most part.
Among them, however are some celebrities who are doing it right. They have taken their actions way beyond social media and are showing their support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement through large donations and in person activism. I will say that this is by no means a celebration of these celebrities or celebrity culture, but rather a recognition of what should and could be done if done right. To be fair, I am also wondering where all those celebrities are who made the entire world cringe when they sang Imagine in March thinking it would cure coronavirus.
Halsey helped treat people at protests who have been injured after being shot at with rubber bullets.
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It’s become very clear to me that some of you need to see what I’ve seen. Please swipe through this. These pictures and videos don’t even scratch the surface. It’s easy from the comfort of your home to watch looting and rioting on television and condone the violent measures being taken by forces. But what you don’t see is innocent peaceful protestors being shot at and tear gassed and physically assaulted relentlessly. You think it’s not happening, it’s only the “thugs” and the “riots”, right? The police are keeping you safe right? You’re wrong. This is happening everywhere. And innocent people exercising their rights to speech and assembly are facing violence and abuse of power. With all of our medical professionals being CONSUMED and EXHAUSTED with Covid, there is little to no medical attention available. I have first hand treated men women and children who have been shot in the chest, the face, the back. Some will lose vision some have lost fingers. I have been covered in innocent blood. My father is a black man. My mother is an EMT. This week I had to put those two associations together in ways that have horrified me. This is NOT a virtue signaling post. But I HAVE to show you what I am witnessing with my own eyes. With Trump’s decision today to enforce the mobilization of armed forces on our own citizens, this has escalated beyond your privilege and comfort to not care. Please care. We are begging you to care. This is war on Americans. This is everyone’s problem. Everyone’s. #BLACKLIVESMATTER
Cole Sprouse was arrested while protesting in Santa Monica. He also bailed out a lot of protesters who were arrested with him.
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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.
Ariana Grande has been active in the spread of resources, donated to bail funds, and attended protests in Los Angeles.
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again, i ask my followers to please keep signing these petitions, making donations if u are able to, continue having conversations w family and friends about racism (overt and covert) and the senseless acts of murder that happen in this country far too often, please keep reading up, following accounts on here (i will recommend some!) to keep u updated and learning and sharing links and resources.. our black friends need us to show up and to be better and to be vocal. now more than ever. online. offline even more so. this is more than a post. we have to show up. there is work that needs to be done and it is absolutely on us to do it. #blacklivesmatter here are some accounts i’ve followed that have helped me understand more about my privilege and how to use it to help others. @privtoprog @rachel.cargle @thegreatunlearn @blklivesmatter please feel free to recommend some more as well in my comments.
hours and miles of peaceful protesting yesterday that got little to no coverage.
all throughout beverly hills and west hollywood we chanted, people beeped and cheered along.
we were passionate, we were loud, we were loving.
cover this too please. #BLACKLIVESMATTER https://t.co/vD90CEtF94 pic.twitter.com/GZ6uKDfPM7
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 31, 2020
Nick Cannon has been protesting in Minneapolis all week wearing a sweatshirt that reads, “Please. I can’t breathe.”
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… Because in our blood, We scared of the white cells. Attacking our immunity. The system. Defective. Infected. So Who has the disease you or me? Because I’m at a dis ease, dis advantage, dismantled, disability, of your white knees killing me, been on our neck for centuries, knees or trees, either way you still lynching me! And What did we ever do to you except for build and make America Great Initially!!! Fuck Again! Because I can’t breathe. Potentially, you missing me, clearly not listening, intentionally. We are a people of peace but like Pac said I ain’t no killer but your policies are push me further to the ledge-is-lation jumping off The edge-u-cation while your skin heads to damnation and your Klan-destined rhetoric will forever be evident, fuck the elite and the top 3 percent I’m heaven sent! I was born Asiatic and you made me asthmatic … #SpokenSundays #ICANTBREATHE #AGAIN #GEORGEFLOYD #JUSTICEFORFLOYD #NCREDIBLE #THEICANTBREATHEACT ✊🏿
Timothée Chalamet attended protests in Los Angeles, signed positions, and donated to various organizations.
Timothée Chalamet at the protests today in LA via his Instagram stories pic.twitter.com/JW0Z859iz3
— Timothée Chalamet Fans (@TimotheeUpdates) May 31, 2020
J. Cole has been attending #BlackLivesMatter protests since 2014.
J. Cole speaking with the organizer of the protest in Fayetteville, while standing with the people. He really practices what he preaches in his music. pic.twitter.com/XvORFUqr7q
— Team DREAMVILLE (@TeamDreamville) June 1, 2020
Aminé, an American rapper, is protesting and has been actively pointing out injustices.
🧢🧢🧢 students & faculty voted against campus police being armed and now jason washington is dead because you didn’t listen https://t.co/Nyd53AiZ4M
— Aminé (@heyamine) June 1, 2020
Jaylen Brown, a professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics, drove 15 hours to protest in his hometown of Atlanta.
Do not confuse the response of the oppressed with the violence of the oppressor
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) May 31, 2020
Pedro Pascal has repeatedly been attending protests and demonstrating widespread support.
Jane Fonda has been fighting for this cause since the 1960s and is widely known as an ally to the Black Panthers.
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Repost from @firedrillfriday • "Because we're white, we have had privilege. Even the poorest of us have had privilege. We need to recognize that, and we have to understand what it is that keeps racism in place: the policies, redlining, banking policies, mortgage policies." — @JaneFonda . #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd @greenpeaceusa
John Cusack is known for his progressive ideals and has been attending protests in Chicago.
These were some of the peace officers – who gently tuned up my bike with their batons- pic.twitter.com/atMf8VaV6l
— John Cusack (@johncusack) May 31, 2020
Kendrick Sampson is on instagram showing wounds after being shot at with rubber bullets.
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Before you swipe – If you’re squeamish – warning – these are SOME my wounds up close. The most obvious are from rubber bullets. They look gross but I was blessed to be shot directly from close range and not have much worse, ive posted some in my stories. These things HURT and are DANGEROUS. The dude was aiming for folks HEADS. Rubber bullets have killed folks and can cause permanent damage, brain damage, concussions etc. Swipe further to see some of the officers. I can see some of their names but their badge numbers were on the back of their helmets. Purposeful. ONE OF them removed his name. Others obscured theirs. I need the names and badge numbers. DM them and any other proof to @alwaysbewright Let’s do this. And together let’s end this legacy of slave catching and #DefundPolice #DefendBlackLife (check out @mvmnt4blklives nationwide campaign for US ✊🏽)
Tinashe has also been vocal through activism and by attending protests.
Demand Justice for George Floyd!!
— TINASHE (@Tinashe) June 1, 2020
Justin Timberlake donated to the Minnesota Freedom Fund
Please join me in supporting the Minneapolis protestors by donating to the @mnfreedomfund. The freedom fund is combatting the harms of incarceration by paying bail for low income individuals who cannot otherwise afford: https://t.co/tFr8Jh7TUX
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) May 30, 2020
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend made a $200,00 donation spread across 3 organizations.
Americans have the first amendment right to peacefully protest oppression and injustice. Chrissy and I will be donating to these 3 organizations which are organizing, supporting and defending those marching for justice: @Mvmnt4BlkLives @nlgnews @bailproject https://t.co/whxOPQQuTu
— John Legend (@johnlegend) May 31, 2020
Ooo they might need more money then. Make it $200,000 https://t.co/axuJnazJkU
— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) May 30, 2020
John Boyega is showing support all the way from the U.K.
For the sake of longevity ❤️ pic.twitter.com/YFsmRWH08D
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) June 1, 2020
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds donated $200,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Last week we contributed $200,000 to the @NAACP_LDF. We stand in awe of this organization, their empathy and leadership in, @Sifill_LDF. Their work is essential to the integrity of democracy. If you can donate… go to: https://t.co/S8f4Js6Cgy @VancityReynolds #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/4IZM3PwQBJ
— Blake Lively (@blakelively) June 1, 2020
Colin Kaepernick, NFL player and leader in a protest movement against police brutality and racism by kneeling during the national anthem at games, established a legal defense initiative for protesters. He will be providing free legal compensation for Minneapolis “Freedom Fighters.”
In fighting for liberation there‘s always retaliation. We must protect our Freedom Fighters. We started a legal defense initiative to give legal representation to Freedom Fighters in Minneapolis paid for by @yourrightscamp
For representation or to donate https://t.co/q0pzAObCiG
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) May 29, 2020
In solidarity w/ our brothers & sisters in Minneapolis, KYRC + @kaepernick7 established our Legal Defense Initiative to support Freedom Fighters on the ground. If you, or a loved one needs legal assistance, or to donate, go to https://t.co/BQO5g9f5wb #wegotus pic.twitter.com/5g3wn1wXso
— Know Your Rights Camp (@yourrightscamp) May 29, 2020
These are only a handful of the celebrities that have spoken out and make a commitment to justice. They are not special, or needing of praise. In fact, their actions should be the standard. It is a shame, but not surprising, that other celebrities aren’t not taking advantage of their privilege is beneficial and productive ways. It is all of our duty to take care and to take a stand against the hate that is seemingly all around us. Check out our action guide if you want to know how you can demand justice for George Floyd by taking an active part in eradicating racial injustice. Read it, follow it, share it, and encourage your friends/family to do the same.