The murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer sparked days of protests across the United States. Tens of thousands gathered in cities like Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and more to support Black Lives Matter and anti-police sentiments. Unfortunately, police forces in many cities incited terrible violence — in some cases causing permanent damage to people's bodies — causing these peaceful, necessary protests to be re-written by many media sources as violent looting sessions.
Many celebrities used their voices and their influence to support the cause and to take to the front lines, whether they attended protests themselves or donated large sums to bail funds and other organizations prepared to help protesters.
Westworld and Thor: Ragnarok actress Tessa Thompson posted this video from the protests in Los Angeles. In another tweet, she wrote, "I can say that the #LosAngelesProtest was entirely peaceful until the @LAPDHQ arrived and escalated it. @MayorofLA are you seeing this? Also, where was the robust media coverage then? #BlackLivesMatter"
Actor John Cusack participated in the protest in Chicago and was attacked by police when they saw he was filming a burning car. They used batons to hit his bike. That didn't deter him, though. He went back out to film what was happening on the front lines and make sure people everywhere could see what was really happening.
Kendrick Sampson has acted on shows like Insecure and How to Get Away With Murder, but in the past few days, you can see him on the front lines of the Los Angeles Black Lives Matter protest, fighting to defund the police. He's been documenting the whole thing on Instagram, including confrontations with the police.
Jamie Foxx stood at the hub of the protest in Minneapolis and talked to those around him. In the days before and since, he's shared powerful images and videos on his Instagram page showing that he is in this fight to get justice for George Floyd and the countless others who've experienced violence at the hands of systemic racism.
Halsey has shown up before to protest for women's rights and Black lives, and this week was no exception. This time, she is not only sharing her experience but retweeting from other protests around the country to show just how blatantly cops abuse their power. In one video she shared from Charleston, South Carolina, an emotional young man takes a knee yards and yards away from the police and shares his thoughts, only for them to approach him and arrest him even though he did nothing wrong.
On May 30, Chrissy Teigen wrote, "In celebration of whatever the f--k maga night is, I am committed to donating $100,000 to the bailouts of protesters across the country." When a Twitter user responded and called the protesters "rioters and criminals," she changed the number to $200,000. Her first tweet came in response to a scattered Donald Trump tweet. (Is there any other kind?) This sort of means that Donald Trump is indirectly responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in donation to bail funds for protesters across the country. Kind of neat when you think about it.
Nick Cannon went to Minneapolis to protest for justice for George Floyd. In a piece for Variety, he explains, "I needed to see the people in that community — how much love they had for their community and their people and how much pain this has caused."
Not only was Ariana Grande out there protesting in Los Angeles with a Black Lives Matter poster in her hands, but she also made sure to note how peaceful and positive and loving the protest was before the police got involved. On Twitter, she is encouraging people to vote, call their representatives, "stay active," and "stay energized."
Similarly, Emily Ratajkowski is using her enormous platform to speak out against injustice. She attended the protest in Los Angeles and noted that the police are condoning and allowing the looting to distract from the point of the protests and to claim that their violence against protesters is justified. She wrote, "They want our protests = violence and distraction. They want to reinforce racial stereotypes so that white America, as always, will stand behind their giant guns and machine tanks. I saw all of this with my own eyes today. And I'm so sad."
Singer Tinashe is using her Instagram and her Twitter account to demand justice for George Floyd. She protested in Los Angeles and has been promoting the organization efforts to her 2.8 million Instagram follows and one million Twitter followers. That's how you use your famous voice.
Justin Timberlake tweeted that he would be donating to the Minneapolis bail fund for protesters and asked others to join him, and his white followers flipped out that he was "funding rioters" instead of what he was actually doing, which was supporting a vast majority of peaceful protesters who wrongly ended up in custody for exercising their right to assembly.
But that's not where the criticism stopped. More legitimate criticism came from Black people who pointed out that Justin Timberlake has been accused of appropriating and profiting from Black culture for years. Not to mention, he let Janet Jackson, a Black woman, take the blame for the Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction" debacle and has never expressed regret for that. "Double the amount and make the donation in the name of Janet Jackson and you MIGHT get a sticker," one Twitter user wrote.