The recent killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile are still rightly receiving an outpour of reaction from celebrities, artists, and citizens alike. In the music community, Beyoncé, Chance The Rapper, Snoop Dogg, the Game, Miguel, Solange, and others have made statements, done tributes at concerts, tweeted, organized marches, covered songs, and made original works.
Continuing to express outrage, despair, sadness, and the dire need for change, Alicia Keys and the We Are Here movement have recruited several actors, musicians, and celebrities to speak out about how easy it is to die in America for simply having black skin. In a clip entitled “23 Ways You Could Be Killed If You Are Black In America,” A$AP Rocky, Janelle Monae, Talib Kweli, Jennifer Hudson, Pink, Adam Levine, Taraji P. Henson, Rosario Dawson, Kevin Hart, and others list the simple reasons why man victim of police killings have been wrongfully slain one by one. This video goes on dishearteningly too long, and 23 is only a handful out of far too many. This has been one of the most powerful and moving responses to come out of the recent police murders.
I have one small gripe with the clip, which you can take or leave. Not all of the victims were killed for “doing absolutely nothing” like the video says, but just because they were doing something illegal doesn’t mean they deserve to die either. People tend to paint victims as saints as they are made martyrs and hashtags in the several anti-police brutality movements, but this isn’t necessary and I believe it is somewhat of a disservice. No one is perfect or entirely innocent, and they shouldn’t have to be in order to matter, or to avoid having their life snatched away for petty crimes.