Celebrities stand up against racism, violence: '23 Ways You Could Be Killed If You Are Black in America'

Celebrities stand up against racism, violence: '23 Ways You Could Be Killed If You Are Black in America'
2016-07-14 16:38:17 UTC

The police-related murders of Philando Castile* and Alton Sterling** are the latest to add to a count of 518 so far in 2016. In 2015, the total number of people killed by police was 990. Grassroots organizations have gotten noticeably louder and more organized, including Black Lives Matter, to protest these situations. While it’s not a requirement for entertainers to also risk their careers to be activists, there are plenty willing to speak out against police brutality and against racism.

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                                                       Photo credit: @AliciaKeys/Instagram 

In a recent video, “23 Ways You Could Be Killed If You Are Black in America,” well-known artists (in this order) include Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Chris Rock, Pink, Talib Kweli, Janelle Monae, Chance the Rapper, Taraji Henson, Pharrell, Common, Queen Latifah, Kevin Hart, Rosario Dawson, Swizz Beatz, Lenny Kravitz, Zoe Kravitz, Renisha McBride, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bono, Jennifer Hudson, Van Jones, Tracee Ellis Ross, Adam Levine, Maxwell and Rihanna.

Victims include (in order):
Sandra Bland
Philando Castile
Ramarley Graham
Eric Garner
Oscar Grant III
Gregg Gunn
Freddie Gray
Alton Sterling
Trayvon Martin
Mario Woods
Laquan McDonald
Samuel Dubose
Tamir Rice
Walter L. Scott
Sean Bell
Akai Gurley
ASAP Rocky
India M. Beaty
Charleston shooting
John Crawford III
Rekia Boyd
Amadou Diallo
Jamar Clark

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"Top 9 highlights from VH1's 2016 'Hip Hop Honors'"

While some of these artists above are notorious for speaking up about anti-racism, anti-sexism, equal rights for the LGBT community, etc., a few were eye-opening. Comedian Kevin Hart, who consistently keeps his personal opinions about politics and news events to himself, was one of the most surprising appearances.

Alicia Keys, a well-known humanitarian when she’s not a musician and singer (and sometimes all three at once), announced a movement with WeAreHereMovement.com for everyday citizens to tell President Obama and Congress “that the time for change is now. We demand radical transformation to heal the long history of systemic racism so that all Americans have the equal right to live and to pursue happiness.” 

At the 2016 ESPYs, NBA players LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony also spoke out and encouraged athletes to get involved while counting off a few of the victims' names mentioned above.

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                                                                Video screenshot credit via SB Nation

"We stand before you as fathers, sons, husbands, brothers, uncles, and in my case, as an African-American man and the nephew of a police officer, who is one of the hundreds of thousands of great officers, serving this country," said Paul during the ceremony honoring Muhammad Ali. "[...] Generations ago legends like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe and countless others, they set a model for what athletes should stand for so we choose to follow in their footsteps."  

Recommended Reading: "'The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World' by John Wesley Carlos and Dave Zirin"

State-by-state: Where is open-carry law legal? 

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                                                                             Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons 

Color key:
  • Blue: Open carrying permissive
  • Turquoise: Licensed carrying permissive
  • Yellow: Anomalous/Rural
  • Red: Nonpermissive

* Castile was shot and killed by Officer Jeronimo Yanez from St. Anthony, Minnesota, on July 6. Reports vary on why he was stopped -- from a busted taillight to a robbery suspect with a "wide nose" -- but Castile was riding with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, on the passenger side and her 4-year-old daughter in the backseat. According to the recording from Reynolds, he was killed while trying to reach for his wallet to prove to Yanez that he has a valid license to carry. Castile's gun was on him at the time. Yanez apparently thought that Castile was reaching for his weapon instead. Skeptics suggested that he may have not had a gun permit, but CBS Minnesota has released documentation of his permit to carry a firearm. Minnesota is an open-carry state but only with a license or permit to carry.

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                                                           Document image credit: CBS Minnesota

* * Sterling was filmed by a bystander on the ground in front of Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before the police arrived, Sterling was selling CDs on Tuesday, July 5, when a homeless man allegedly approached him to ask for money. According to the CNN report, when Sterling refused to give the man money, he called the police to report that Sterling showed his gun. What's not clear from the cell phone videos is what happened initially when the police arrived. Video footage shows Sterling wrestled to the ground by police, laying on his back, while one officer kneels on Sterling's left while another holds his legs. It appears that the officer near his legs was the one who fired the shots. Sterling also had a firearm on his waist. Louisiana is an open-carry state without a license or permit.

23 Ways You Could Be Killed If You Are Black in America
Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Jennifer Hudson, Pink, Bono, and others explain why it's time to take action to heal the long history of systemic racism in Am...

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