With the death of George Floyd last May 25, the call for equality has once again taken the streets with the Black Lives Matter. The national outrage against police brutality and institutionalized racism has spread like wildfire across the country, forcing curfews and lockdowns in several states.
Although most people have expressed support to the movement, some individuals have taken a step further and shared their resources to rally change.
Week 1 (May 25 to 30): George Floyd's Death And Taking To The Streets
On May 25, Monday, George Floyd was killed after an arrest attempt. Former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the 46-year-old African-American man's neck, even as he lay down the road. Despite repeated pleas from Floyd and bystanders, the officer did not let go. Floyd lost consciousness and died shortly after.
The following day, four police officers were fired due to the incident. Aside from Chauvin, officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao were also fired pending investigation. Celebrities have joined the call for justice - Snoop Dogg, Madonna, and Ice Cube have expressed disgust and anger over Floyd's death.
President Trump, in a now-hidden tweet, apparently approved the use of force in dealing with looters taking advantage of the protests. He wrote, "Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts." It prompted Taylor Swift, who generally stayed out of political issues, to slam the US president in response.
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 (@taylorswift13) May 29, 2020
Artists have also stood side-by-side with the average American during the protests. Ariana Grande has been in a Black Lives Matter protest in Los Angeles Saturday, May 30. She also tweeted images of the peaceful march covering Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.
Halsey was also among the artists active during the protests. The "Colors" artist has been vocal about her own experiences. She has also been spotted providing medical care to injured protesters. One of her experiences was on her Twitter account. Halsey shared how their group was shot with rubber bullets. She explained that they did not breach the line.
fired rubber bullets at us. we did not breach the line. hands were up. unmoving. and they gassed and fired. pic.twitter.com/K8YauF0APn — h (@halsey) May 31, 2020
Week 2 (May 31 to June 6): Jay-Z's Newspaper Ads; Mustafa Dares Drake and The Weeknd; Floyd Mayweather Shoulder Expenses
Jay-Z and Roc Nation, including its philanthropic arm Team Roc, have taken newspaper ads across the country in honor of George Floyd's death. The ad contained an extended quote taken from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s March 1965 address delivered at Selma, Alabama.
Mustafa the Poet, rapper and spoken word artist, first donated $400 in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. He later tagged his "Toronto Kings" Drake and The Weeknd. He asked both Canadian superstars to "match my donation but add 3 zeroes,"
Drake responded with a $100,000 donation and a funny story. The "Tootsie Slide" artist was called for fraud when he made the donation. The conversation was also shared by Mustafa on his social media account, later followed by donation receipts made to the National Bail Out initiative under the name Abel Tesfaye, The Weeknd's real name. Tesfaye also donated to Black Lives Matter Global Network, and NFL star Colin Kaepernick's Know Your Rights initiative.
Also, a representative for boxing icon Floyd Mayweather confirmed on the same day that the undefeated athlete would pay for George Floyd's funeral. Floyd's family is set to hold a funeral for George on June 9. The testimony came from Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather Promotions CEO, in a statement to ESPN. Ellerbe noted that The Money did not want to talk about his recent actions about George Floyd's family.
Later in the week, Kanye West laid out his plans to help the victims' families, from George Floyd to Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. Kanye has already donated $2 million to the charities associated with the three victims. He has also set up a college fund for George Floyd's young daughter, Gianna.
The Support Continues: BTS and ARMYs Step Up; Sony and Warner Music Groups Follow Suit With Social Justice Funds
The third week since the death of George Floyd opened with the global K-Pop phenomenon, BTS. The seven-man group and their label Big Hit Entertainment gave $1 million to Black Lives Matter. Moreover, within 24 hours, their fans successfully matched the donation. The BTS ARMY managed to put together $1,026,531 from 35,609 donors.
From the corporate side, Sony and Warner Music groups have also made funds for social justice. The two major companies followed Universal's initiative last week. Warner Music Group, which owns Atlantic, Elektra, and Parlophone, announced a $100 million fund. It will be directed to charitable causes in the music industry and social justice. Meanwhile, Sony Music Group has also announced its own $100 million funds. The home of labels Columbia, Epic, and RCA will support civil rights organizations worldwide.