“We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities”
Beyoncé has joined a host of voices speaking out against the recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two black men shot by police in separate incidents. The singer has released a statement on her website asking people to take a stand and unite.
“We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities,” she wrote. “It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they ‘stop killing us.'”
Bey refers to two incidents from the past week: Alton Sterling, 37, was shot dead by two police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisana outside a convenience store despite being pinned to the ground. Philando Castile, 32, was shot five times by an officer while he sat in his car in Minnsota. His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, recorded the aftermath in a Facebook Live video in the car.
In the wake of Sterling’s death a civil rights investigation by the Justice Department has begun. Protests across the country have broken out in response to racially-motivated police brutality.
Beyoncé’s statement continued: “We’re going to stand up as a community and fight against anyone who believes that murder or any violent action by those who are sworn in to protect us should consistently go unpunished. These robberies of lives make us feel helpless and hopeless but we have to believe that we are fighting for the rights of the next generation, for the next young men and women who believe in good.”
“Fear is not an excuse. Hate will not win,” she asserted. “We all have the power to channel our anger and frustration into action. We must use our voices to contact the politicians and legislators in our districts and demand social and judicial changes.”
The singer concluded with a rallying cry for people to contact local senators and those in congress, with further information on upcoming protests. At her recent show in Glasgow as part of her Formation tour, the Lemonade singer stood defiantly in front of a list that names people killed by police, including Eric Garner and Travyon Martin. 561 people in America have been killed by the police in 2016.
Beyoncé was criticised earlier in the year upon the release of “Formation” and her Super Bowl performance, which was described by some as anti-police.
Since the shootings, Drake has also spoken out in a rare act of political intervention. In a note posted to Instagram, the rapper pleaded for an end to the “cycle of violence” at the hands of police. “It’s impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago,” he wrote, “No one begins their life as a hashtag, yet the trend of being reduced to one continues.” Solange also shared a cover on IG of Syreeta’s “Black Maybe” with an accompanying note.
“Been singing Syreeta’s ‘Black Maybe’ over and over again trying to comfort my weary heart. But what is comfort when the images of slain black bodies left to bleed are sketched into your being…over and over again” she wrote under the Instagram video.
Read Bey's full statement here.