The Black Lives Matter global movement, which was founded in 2013 following the death of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin, who was shot while walking to a family friend's house after leaving a convenience store, has been steadily gaining momentum for years.
Part of its activism calls on people from all over the world to unite, partake in protests and rallies, donate to relevant causes and educate themselves (and others) on racial inequality. They're asking for an end to white supremacy, for a safer world for Black people and for us all to overcome oppression.
Following the recent circulation of a harrowing video, showing the unthinkable actions that led to the death of a Black man, George Floyd, citizens around the world have spoken out against racism and have pledged to help unpick the systems that perpetrate inequality. Derek Chauvin, one of the officers in question, has since been charged with third-degree murder (the case is yet to go to trial).
Here are some truly powerful quotes from celebrities who are publicly behind the cause.
1. Michelle Obama
Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of colour to deal with it. It’s up to all of us – Black, white, everyone – no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own. It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets." – Michelle Obama in a statement following the harrowing death of George Floyd
"We need justice for George Floyd. We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We're broken and we're disgusted, we cannot normalise this pain. No more senseless killings of human beings. No more seeing people of colour as less than human. We can no longer look away." – Beyoncé, in a video urging people to sign petitions seeking justice
3. Taraji P. Henson
"Every mother of every race should have felt that. If you are a mother and you are silent about this, f*ck you. I said what I said and we hear your silence!" – Taraji P. Henson, while sharing a quote about how George Floyd called for his mother while being brutally pinned to the ground
"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... The pure joy and climax on the face of this bigot, murderer, thug, pig, bum, Derek Chauvin, haunts me!! I can’t shake this!... If intentional MURDER is the fit consequence for 'drugs' or 'resisting arrest'... then what’s the fit consequence for MURDER?" – Rihanna posting in support of justice for George Floyd and other Black citizens, including Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, who've died unnecessarily and seen their killers walk free
5. Perrie Edwards
"As a white person living in the UK, it's very easy to look at the #BlackLivesMatter movement and believe it doesn't affect you. Feel that it's not your place to comment or get involved... What's not so easy is to scroll past an innocent man being pinned to the floor, struggling and begging for his last breath... How can any human being, no matter your race, age, gender, not be deeply affected by that? I have been deeply affected by it... I acknowledge my white privilege and instead of allowing it to put a muzzle on me, I will use it to speak up for what is right and what is wrong." – Perrie Edwards in an Instagram post in which she urges people to stand side by side with the Black community
6. 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! You don’t put fear in people when you do this, you just show how coward[ly] you are – and how America is really not the land of the free." – Cardi B, speaking on Instagram after the death of George Floyd
7. Kim Kardashian-West
"For years, with every horrific murder of an innocent Black man, woman or child, I have always tried to find the right words to express my condolences and outrage, but the privilege I am afforded by the colour of my skin has often left me feeling like this is not a fight I can truly take on as my own. Not today, not anymore... Even though I will never know the pain and suffering they have endured, or what it feels like to try to survive in a world plagued by systemic racism, I know I can use my own voice to help amplify those voices that have been muffled for too long." – Kim Kardashian-West, posting in support of Black Lives Matter
8. Clara Amfo
"I love blackness, it is stunning, majestic, inspiring but it is also not here to serve non-black people when it suits them via sports, music, hairstyles, entertainment etc. It should be respected in the workplace and shouldn’t be ignored when it’s crying out in fear of being killed. You really want that utopian ideal of what our world could be? You want to be proudly and ACTIVELY anti-racist, more than fearing being called a racist? I want that for you too. If so, then do the work, educate yourself and others stand by us loudly, consistently, FOREVER." – Clara Amfo, taken from a series of eloquent and important posts she shared about race and the Black Lives Matter movement
9. Taylor Swift
"After stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism your entire presidency, you have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence? ‘When the looting starts the shooting starts’??? We will vote you out in November @realdonaldtrump." – Taylor Swift responding to Trump's tweets on the riots following George Floyd's death
10. Harry Styles
"I do things every day without fear, because I am privileged, and I am privileged every day because I am white. Being not racist is not enough, we must be anti racist. Social change is enacted when a society mobilises. I stand in solidarity with all of those protesting. I’m donating to help post bail for arrested organisers. Look inwards, educate yourself and others." – Harry Styles encouraging his followers to listen, read, share, donate and vote wisely
"The death of #GeorgeFloyd: the epitome of white privilege. If we as white people do not fight against racism then we are part of this continued problem. I am anti-racist, I refuse to accept this disgraceful act and I will help the fight, I hope you stand with me." – Anne-Marie speaking on Twitter about the Black Lives Matter movement, which she has publicly supported for a number of years
"I don't think anybody should have to wake up with the fear that their life could be taken away from them at any point by a police officer, but that is the horrible reality of so many people of colour, especially Black people. This isn't the first time we have seen this. Police officers have disregarded the fact they are supposed to protect lives and they have taken away people's humanity because of the colour of their skin." – Taken from Mabel's video on Instagram in which she also encouraged her followers to keep the conversation moving forward
13. Niall Horan
"Racism has been rampant for hundreds of years, it’s just that in this century people have camera phones to video it. It’s absolutely disgusting that you get mistreated because of the colour of your skin. You would think that those that are there to protect us, would protect." – Niall Horan showing his support on Twitter
14. Ariana Grande
"Please keep signing these petitions, making donations, having conversations with family and friends about it, reading and sharing links and resources... Gentle reminder that this doesn’t end today or tomorrow or after you post about it once #blacklivesmatter." – Ariana Grande via Twitter, who also shared photos that she took while participating in peaceful protests this weekend
15. Priyanka Chopra
"There is so much work to be done and it needs to starts at an individual level on a global scale. We all have a responsibility to educate ourselves and end this hate. End this race war here in the US, and around the world. Wherever you live, whatever your circumstances, NO ONE deserves to die, especially at the hands of another because of their skin color." – Priyanka Chopra posting on Instagram along with a devastating quote from the video showing George Floyd's murder, in which he repeatedly says, "Please, I can't breathe"
16. Stefflon Don
"'In the end we will not remember the enemies words, but the silence of our friends/peers'. Unarmed, cuffed and not dangerous. The only crime he committed was being Black and beautiful. Do not stand by and allow these devils to take another life! #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd." – Stefflon Don's Instagram post
17. Molly-Mae Hague
"Kneeling down and peacefully protesting with a sign?!! How is that worthy of being forced to the floor since the police could’ve just walked past?!! These videos are just VILE. Let the people protest for what is right." Molly-Mae Hague's comments while retweeting a video showing protestors being hurt by police
18. Jade Thirlwall
"As a mixed race woman I want to say that I too understand my privileges and will constantly strive to do better for the Black community. Those not speaking up or taking action... your silence speaks VOLUMES. You can’t play ignorance, justified by feeling uncomfortable, when Black people have been made to feel uncomfortable their entire lives in a white privileged, systematically racist and unfair society that is more than happy to benefit from Black culture, but isn’t so happy in adhering to the ideals of equality and basic human rights." – An extract from Jade Thirlwall's thought-provoking statement and poem that she shared on Instagram
"Protest is not the end of progress, it is the beginning. I wonder what would happen if all the big companies and celebrities who have showed support on social media came out and used their platform to let activists and protesters speak and be seen?... Cities are burning, are you watching? I stand with Minneapolis. I believe in us. Change is gonna come." – Part of a caption shared by Lizzo in her video reminding Black people that it is not their job to educate others on white privilege
20. Chrissy Teigen
"I stand with our heroes out there in support and solidarity. If you don’t know what else to do, every little bit helps. Please see my retweets for direct links. Silence is betrayal." – Posted by Chrissy Teigen to her Instagram alongside a screenshot of her pledging $200,000 to help bail out protestors.
21. Meghan Markle
"The only wrong thing to say is to say nothing – because George Floyd's life mattered and Breonna Taylor's life mattered and Philando Castile's life mattered and Tamir Rice's life mattered... and so many other people's, whose names we know and whose names we do not know. Stephon Clark, his life mattered." – Meghan Markle in a moving speech she recorded for this year's graduates from her old high school.
22. John Boyega
"Imagine this: a nation that is set up with individual families that are thriving, that are healthy, that communicate, that raise their children in love, have a better rate of becoming better human beings and that’s what we need to create... Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting." – John Boyega addressing the crowd during a Black Lives Matter protest in London
23. Munroe Bergdorf
"The job of a policeman or woman is not more sacred than the humanity of a black person. Period. Police are not paid executioners, but when you advocate for their right to kill, that is what you are advocating for. Killing is not their job. Ask yourself why you're ok with that." – Munroe Bergdorf via Twitter
24. Leigh-Anne Pinnock
"When white people make up the majority of decision making power, people of colour are the ones that aren't given a fair shot at life. Racism is built into every level of our society. Now it's time for EVERYONE to use their voice to shout about it and expose it for what it is. It's evident in all of these ways: wealth, employment, education, criminal justice, housing, surveillance, healthcare. Systematic racism is REAL. Please, I'm asking everyone that follows me [to] do your research, educate yourself and keep the conversation going. We ALL need to fight to end it." – Leigh-Anne Pinnock on Instagram alongside a Robert D Bullard quote
Find out what you can do to demand justice for Black lives here:
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