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Nia Wilson and Kehlani

Kehlani speaks out for murdered Oakland teen Nia Wilson

The musician asked that local authorities bring justice for the hate crime victim

Nia and Letifah Wilson were on the Bay Area Rapid Transit in Oakland, California, on Sunday (July 22), on their way home from meeting with family. On their journey the 18-year-old and 26-year-old were attacked by John Lee Cowell completely unprovoked. Nia died from a stab wound to the neck on the scene.

Mass protests have spread across Oakland demanding justice for the murdered teen. Authorities say there’s as of yet no evidence the attack was racially motivated, but many online and offline have highlighted the dynamics at play, where a white man has attacked two young black women seemingly at random.

Musician Kehlani has been one of those speaking out for Wilson – on Twitter she called out BART for its supposedly slow reaction to the horrendous murder, where elsewhere, they’re quick to crack down on young graffiti artists and people dodging fares.

“BART manages to catch riders who haven’t paid ticket fair (sic), young graffiti artists, you can catch a murderer. give her family some peace and get a murderous white supremecist off of oakland streets,” Kehlani tweeted.

On Instagram, she wrote further: “Making Bay Area citizens aware that a young 18 year old girl was brutally murdered and her sister left in critical condition in a vicious attack by a RACIST/TERRORIST/WHITE SUPREMACIST. This was a HATE CRIME. no “random” BART stabbing.”

Wilson's death is the third on the BART rail line in the last week. She was described by her mother as wonderful, smart, and gifted, a keen basketball player and cheerleader with an interest in studying criminal law. Wilson had just graduated from Oakland High School.

Cowell has a history of violence prior to this “unprovoked, unwarranted, vicious attack”, as BART authorities told press, according to Refinery29. He has previously been convicted of second-degree robbery, battery, being under the influence of a controlled substance, vandalism and petty theft. He was apprehended on Monday night (July 23) on a train after an anonymous tipster contacted the authorities, and he remains in police custody. A memorial has been set up for Wilson, and a GoFundMe for justice and funeral costs has almost raised $50,000.