John Boyega, Cardi B, Taylor Swift, And More Are Reacting To George Floyd’s Death
Actor Jamie Foxx traveled to Minneapolis to speak with local activists. "When we see you guys out here on the front line, we want to let you know you got support," he said.
Cardi B is frustrated. Taylor Swift is angry. And John Boyega is feeling exasperated.
As protests against police brutality boil over into violence across the country following the death of George Floyd, actors, pop stars, and celebrities are using their public platforms to share feelings and push for justice.
Some, like Beyoncé, have made tributes by sharing a photo of Floyd on her website with the caption "Rest in Power."
Others, like Boyega, have been more vocal. “This just burns. Seems to be a never ending cycle," the Star Wars actor tweeted Wednesday. "The murderers need to be charged severely. Even in the face of death this man was given zero empathy."
In a video on Friday, Cardi B said she was frustrated and supported the angry protests as long as people do not get injured. "Seeing people looting and growing extremely outraged, you know, it makes me feel like, yes! Finally! Finally, motherfuckers is gonna hear us now. Yeah!"
She added: "Police brutality's been going on even way before I was born. But it has been more visual ever since social media started getting popping."
Floyd's death on Monday was filmed and posted on social media, sparking a week of protests that escalated on Wednesday and Thursday night into violent riots.
After the first night of unrest, singer John Legend retweeted a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. about how “riots do not develop out of thin air" and are "the language of the unheard."
Legend added, “This part of the quote especially: 'Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.' America will spend the money to pit military equipment against its citizens but won't do enough to invest in actual justice that will bring real peace.”
On Tuesday, a day after Floyd's death, four officers involved in his arrest were fired — but no further action was taken for several days, causing widespread frustration.
“CHARGE AND CONVICT THE MURDERERS RESPONSIBLE FOR GEORGE FLOYD’S DEATH,” Chance the Rapper tweeted on Wednesday. “SWIFT DRAMATIC CHANGE ONLY COMES VIA REVOLUTION.”
Then on Friday, Derek Chauvin — the police officer who put Floyd in a knee chokehold while he died — was arrested and taken into custody, charged with murder and manslaughter.
The development prompted Ava DuVernay, who directed Selma about King's activism, to simply tweet, "Thank you."
Speaking alongside social justice advocates in Minneapolis on Friday, actor Jamie Foxx told reporters, "All I wanted to do is let you know that we're not afraid to stand. We're not afraid of the moment."
He questioned why brute force is used against black people by police in some interactions while Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine black worshippers at a church in 2015, was able to be taken into custody alive.
"All I wanted to do today is let you know I'm not a celebrity," Foxx told the activists. "This means everything — because at the end of the day when we see you guys out here on the front line, we want to let you know you got support."
After President Donald Trump tweeted, “Any difficulty and we will assume control but when the looting starts the shooting starts,” on Thursday night, referring to the Minneapolis protests, singer Taylor Swift responded directly with one of the most political tweets of her career.
Twitter later said the post was her most-liked tweet of all time, reaching 1 million likes in less than five hours.
Swift has been able to avoid speaking out about national issues for most of her career. Gradually, she evolved to speaking out more on politics, and last year she likened Trump to an autocrat. When she urged fans to sign up to vote for the 2018 midterms, there was a flood of new voter registrations nationwide.
As BuzzFeed News writer Pier Dominguez wrote in 2018, "After Trump’s election, which made questions about race and gender front and center in cultural conversation, Swift’s silence seemed to be turning her into an inadvertent alt-right poster girl, and her inability to situate herself in the cultural conversation carried into the release of her latest album. The Trump era has been a complicated time for all white women pop stars (and other celebrities) to navigate the intersection of pop, politics, and culture."
Ariana Grande has also been encouraging people to sign petitions, “have conversations with friends,” and donate money to causes related to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Justice is not about specific officers being arrested. It’s about dismantling the systems that make it possible. #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd,” Grande wrote on her Instagram story on Wednesday.
In her social media videos on Friday, Cardi B also encouraged her fans to enact real structural change by voting in upcoming elections, both local and national. She described voting as "another way for the people to take power."
“We could vote for mayors, we could vote for judges, and we could also vote for DAs, district attorneys," she said.
"They have the power to prosecute these cops when they do fuck shit."