We’ve criticized athletes and celebrities for not using their platforms to speak about the injustices in our community. We’ve called them to the carpet for remaining tight lipped in the face of the mass shooting in Orlando or the massacre of Black men across our country.
In the wake of the recent police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, celebrities are beginning to use their voices for change.
On Wednesday night, rapper The Game gathered 100 actors, athletes, and media personalities, including T.I., Meagan Good, Tina Lawson, Omar and Keisha Epps, Tisha Campbell Martin, Niecy Nash, Cedric The Entertainer, Tasha Smith, Terrence J, Jesse Williams, Larenz Tate, Nate Parker, Boris Kodjoe, and Compton’s Mayor, Aja Brown, to discuss solutions for the crisis we face. The Game posted a message on Instagram about the meeting, held in a private location. “…this time we’re collectively taking a different approach at burying these problems once & for all. This is a fight for everyone….. Not just blacks, but everyone…. & all races, ethnicities, cities, states, countries & continents were brought up & we had a very peaceful meeting where voices from all entertainment groups were heard & no leaf was left unturned…”
Wednesday night’s ESPY Awards opened with an impassioned statement from NBA stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Paul.
“The system is broken. The problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new, but the urgency for change is definitely at an all-time high,” said Anthony. “The racial profiling has to stop. The shoot-to-kill mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value of black and brown bodies has to stop. But also the retaliation has to stop. The endless gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, it has to stop. Enough. Enough is enough,” Wade added.
And Jesse Williams kicked off the movement with his deeply moving speech at the BET Awards. “This award is not for me,” he said. “This is for the real organizers all over the country, the activist, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.” He continued, “We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries. And we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil — black gold! — ghettoizing and demeaning our creations and stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. Just because we’re magic, doesn’t mean we’re not real.”