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Beyoncé, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, Ryan Reynolds, more demand justice for George Floyd

Artists across North America and around the world have taken to social media — and to the streets — in protest

Artists across North America and around the world have taken to social media — and to the streets — in protest

Dozens of celebrities are speaking out following the death of George Floyd, and the protests happening across North America. (Instagram; Amy Sussman/Getty Images; Amy Sussman/Getty Images; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Image; Getty Images)

It has been a week since Minnesota Police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd until he died, as three fellow officers watched on.

Since that event, protesters across the United States and Canada have taken to the streets, demanding justice for Floyd and an end to racism.

Dozens of top musicians, actors and other artists have also lent their voices to the cause by taking to social media — and in some instances, taking to the streets. 

Here is some of what they have had to say.

Beyoncé

"We need justice for George Floyd. We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We're broken and we're disgusted," says Beyoncé in a video posted on Instagram.

"We cannot normalize this pain. I'm not only speaking to people of color. If you're white, black, brown and anything in between, I'm sure you feel hopeless by the racism going on in America right now."

Jay-Z

"Now I, along with an entire country in pain, call upon AG Ellison to do the right thing and prosecute all those responsible for the murder of George Floyd to the fullest extent of the law. This is just a first step," wrote legendary rapper and producer Jay-Z.

"I am more determined to fight for justice than any fight my would-be oppressors may have."

Rihanna

"For the last few days, the magnitude of devastation, anger, sadness I've felt has been overwhelming to say the least! Watching my people get murdered and lynched day after day pushed me to a heavy place in my heart! To the point of staying away from socials, just to avoid hearing the blood curdling agony in George Floyd's voice again, begging over and over for his life!!!" wrote Rihanna.

"I can't get over an ambulance pulling up to an arrest, a paramedic checking a pulse without removing the very thing that's hindering it! Is this that f--king normal???"

Travis Scott

"There are almost no words that I can think of to properly express, or I can use to suppress, this enraged feeling of us continuously losing our brothers and sisters to brutality at the hands of officers, or anyone with misguided intentions for our well-being," wrote hip-hop artist Travis Scott.

"The rage that we are feeling is from direct personal experience and the constant pain of wanting our voices to be heard. To be seen as equal and human, too."

Demi Lovato

"This is not okay. And it will not stop until everyone does their part. Especially white people. I said it recently and I'll say it again, do not let your discomfort surrounding social issues prevent you from speaking up for those IN DANGER," says actress and #MeToo trailblazer Demi Lovato.

"And reality is, until this STOPS COMPLETELY - THE BLACK COMMUNITY WILL CONTINUE TO LIVE IN DANGER. DO YOUR PART. THIS INVOLVES YOU TOO. #GeorgeFloyd, I hope you RIP because it isn't fair so many didn't do their part to ensure you lived in peace."

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen

"Americans have the first amendment right to peacefully protest oppression and injustice," wrote John Legend, announcing that he and partner Chrissy Teigen would donate $200,000 to Movement For Black Lives, National Lawyers Guild and The Bail Project.

"Chrissy and I will be donating to these 3 organizations which are organizing, supporting and defending those marching for justice: @Mvmnt4BlkLives @nlgnews @bailproject"

Naomi Campbell

"It's natural to wish for life 'to just get back to normal' as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us. But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal' — whether it's well dealing with the healthcare system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in the park," wrote fashion icon Naomi Campbell.

"This shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America. It can't be 'normal.' If we want our children to grow up in the nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must do better."

Cardi B

"Enough is enough! What will it take? A civil war? A new president? Violent riots? It's tired! I'm tired! The country is tired!" wrote Cardi B on Instagram.

"You don't put fear in people when you do this you just show how coward YOU ARE! And how America is really not the land of the free!"

The Weeknd

"Keep supporting our brothers and sisters out there risking everything to push for actual change for our black lives," said Canadian artist the Weeknd.

"Urging everyone with big pockets to give and give big and if you have less please give what you can even if it's a small amount."

Selena Gomez

"I have spent the last 24 hours just trying to process this all," wrote pop artist Selena Gomez on Twitter.

"Nothing anyone says can take back what has happened. But we can and must all make sure to take action. Too many black lives have been taken from us for far too long," she said.

"They deserve better. They deserve to be heard. We all need to do better and not sit in silence as this injustice continues."

Kesha

"Racism has never been okay, yet it is part of the history of this country, a sickening part. Racism is very much alive and fueled by a president who calls white supremacists 'very fine people' and then threatens protesters with being shot in a time when so many are suffering. It's embarrassing, nauseating, and infuriating," wrote Kesha on Instagram.

"Being a white person, I know I will never understand how racism feels. I stand for equality and I can't just be silent while the president encourages violence and does nothing to help heal people's suffering but rather makes it worse."

Harry Styles

"I do things every day without fear, because I am privileged, and I am privileged every day because I am white," wrote singer Harry Styles.

"Being not racist is not enough, we must be anti racist. Social change is enacted when a society mobilizes. I stand in solidarity with all of those protesting."

Billie Eilish

"No one is saying your life doesn't matter. No one is saying your life is not hard. No one is saying literally anything at all about you. All you MFS do is find a way to make everything about yourself. This is not about you," wrote Billie Eilish in a four-image Instagram post.

"Society gives you privilege just for being white … but right now in this moment, we have to address hundreds of years of oppression of black people."

Shawn Mendes

"I'm so sorry that this injustice keeps happening. I can't imagine what life dealing with racism so constantly it's like," wrote Canadian singer Shawn Mendes, who marched in Miami alongside his partner Camila Cabello.

"As a white person, I not only recognize that this is a problem but that I am part of the problem. That it has long due been time to not only 'not accept' racism, but to become anti-racist. That all of us better in the majority, can't sit idle any longer well the minority are suffering. It's time for all humans to demand change. This needs to be EVERYONE'S fight."

Lady Gaga

"We MUST show our love for the black community," wrote Lady Gaga on Twitter.

"As a white, privileged woman, I take an oath to stand by that. We haven't, as a privileged community, done enough to fight racism and stand up for those people who are being killed by it."

Miley Cyrus

"Like so many of you, I am angry, outraged and heartbroken about the injustice in our country that has been going on for way too long- centuries & generations. To my fans, each one of us has a voice — I'm asking you to please use it right now," wrote Miley Cyrus on Instagram.

"Please call the Minnesota Governor at 651-201-3400 and Attorney General to demand #justiceforGeorgeFloyd (link in bio for numbers and script from @aclumn). They need to be held accountable. We can't stand by, we need to each do our part to make justice for everyone a reality."

Adele

"It's important we don't get disheartened, hijacked or manipulated right now. This is about systematic racism, this is about police violence and it's about inequality. And this isn't only about America! Racism is alive and well everywhere," wrote Adele.

"I wholeheartedly stand in solidarity with the fight for freedom, liberation and justice."

George Clooney

"We need policymakers and politicians that reflect basic fairness to all of their citizens equally. Not leaders that stoke hatred and violence as if the idea of shooting looters could ever be anything less than a racial dog whistle," wrote actor George Clooney in an essay published by The Daily Beast.

"So this week, as we're wondering what it's going to take to fix these seemingly insurmountable problems, just remember we created these issues so we can fix them. And there is only one way in this country to bring lasting change: Vote."

Kacey Musgraves

"It's been hard to find the words to adequately convey how outraged and sad I am. WHITE PEOPLE HAVE HAD IT SO F--KING WRONG SINCE THE BEGINNING and I will do whatever I can I help break the DISGUSTING, damaging cycle racism and systemic privilege causes," wrote Grammy-winning country artist Kacey Musgrave. "I will not be a bystander."

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds

"We've never had to worry about preparing our kids for different rules of law or what might happen if we're pulled over in the car," wrote couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds in a lengthy shared post.

"We don't know what it's like to experience that life day in and day out. We can't imagine feeling that kind of fear and anger. We're ashamed that in the past we've allowed ourselves to be uninformed about how deeply rooted systemic racism is."

The couple also shared that they donated $200,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and that it was "just a start."

"We want to use our privilege and platform to be an ally. And to play a part in easing pain for so many who feel as though this grand experiment is failing them."

Ariana Grande

"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," wrote singer Ariana Grande, who joined the protests in Los Angeles. 

"We were passionate, we were loud, we were loving."

Halsey

"I don't know how to articulate the horrors of today. NG + officers firing rounds into kneeling crowds. We don't have enough medics on the ground on our side. I was treating injuries I am not qualified to. So much blood spilled. If you have med training pls go + standby outskirts," tweeted Halsey, who also attended protests over the weekend.

"And if you're a white ally who is gonna stand and shout and antagonize the officers and NG and then hide behind black bodies when the shots start firing, f--k you. You couldn't understand a shred of the bravery of the black folks at the front line. Thank you to everyone who stayed," she wrote.

"Any white individual using protests as ways to fulfil some punk riot rage wet dream and thus resulting in further consequences and pain for the black community cannot be considered a white ally. Literally DISGUSTING."

Jennifer Lopez

"How can anyone say they love this country and not do something when they see lives cut short because of the color of their skin?" asked J. Lo on Instagram.

"We need to erase the fear and hatred that exists. Not erase people. We are all God's children. We need to love and appreciate all the beautiful things that every individual person is. There are more of us who live a life of love and acceptance than those who live in rage and hate," she wrote. 

"Do not let the angry, and hateful win!! Say something. Do something. Let's build bridges not burn them."

Jamie Foxx

"We both have witnessed an acceleration of young black man being killed senselessly by police officers and random civilians trying to act like police officers… Being in Minnesota for George Floyd Felt like the straw on the camels back," wrote actor Jamie Foxx, who said he has been attending rallies since the 1991 police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles.

"We have to change policy when it comes to police brutality… We will be heading up to San Francisco tomorrow to meet with the mayor @londonbreed to have a Push for real change!! We cannot let all of these black folk down."

 

About the Author

Jennifer Van Evra is a Vancouver-based journalist and digital producer for q. She can be found on Twitter @jvanevra or email jennifer.vanevra@cbc.ca.

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