COMMENTARY: ARTISTS BREAK THEIR SILENCE

8/12/2016 by Chantel Carnes

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Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile; these are just a few of the names of young black men and women that have been killed at the hands of law enforcement. These deaths have caused many people to speak out and voice their opinion about the issues within our social justice system and the black lives matter movement.

Earlier this summer, Jesse Williams set off a social media firestorm with an impeccable speech about the reality of racially motivated police violence. Not long before that, iconic music artists Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar performed their powerful song “Freedom” that left the audience and viewers begging for an encore.

As we know, music comes from a place of experience and sometimes those experiences come from a place of pain. Music artists have been using their experiences with police brutality, and the increase in media coverage of it, to voice their opinions and share their struggles through music. Kendrick Lamar’s Pimp To a Butterfly album and Beyoncé’s Black Panther tribute during this year’s Super Bowl has been some of the ways celebrities have been directly speaking out against police violence geared towards people of color.

Not long after the Alton Sterling and Philando Castile deaths, celebrities took to social media in outrage; posting and reposting Malcolm X speeches, Dr. Martin Luther King JR quotes and sharing the video of both shootings on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with captions expressing their hurt and disgust.

One celebrity in particular that has never been silent -  especially involving issues pertaining to people of color - Taraji P. Henson. She has always been one to speak up when people of color are facing racism and discrimination. Beginning July 6th, late Wednesday and continuing to Thursday, the Empire actress shared multiple Instagram post that addressed the issue.

In the first post, Henson shared a photo with the hashtag #AltonSterling and the caption “Sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

That was the first of many posts that followed. Henson has since then shared various clips calling out systemic racism and demanding an end to the destruction of the black community set-forth by those who are put in position to protect us.

Although various celebrities have taken to social media to express this anger and disappointment in the justice system, they wanted to do more.

Founder and Benefactor of the “We are Here” movement, Alicia Keys, has created a platform for change. Various celebrities including Alicia Keys, Pharrell Williams, Rihanna, Taraji P. Henson, Chris Rock and more have appeared in a political video discussing recent issues surrounding the black community. The video put together by Alicia Keys and the “We are Here” Foundation, called “23 Ways You Could Be Killed If You Are Black In America,” has increased not only awareness about racially motivated violence geared towards people of color, but has also illustrated to normal-life people that many celebrities take note of what is happening and what to make a change.

Check out the video below to watch as various celebrities tell you the 23 reasons you could be killed by police if you are black in America and keep checking back with CSuiteMusic to stay updated with the latest news and hottest music.​

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