The back-to-back deaths of two black men this week at the hands of police officers has stoked the long-burning fires of outrage within the black community concerning police brutality.
On Tuesday in Baton Rouge, Alton Sterling was pinned down by a police officer and fatally shot point-blank. On Wednesday in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop.
Both incidents were caught on camera. Both incidents echo the grim reality that continues to face minorities in this country. Both incidents have to etch a point of marked change of police practices and accountability.
At the risk of sounding jaded, it’s difficult to determine how (or even if) change will come. Trayvon Martin, Freddie Grey, Eric Garner, Renisha McBride, Jordan Davis, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott–it’s sad and terrifying road we’ve walked down before. But the Black Lives Matter movement’s growing list of high-profile supporters speaking out against the systemic targeting of black men by police officers is a voice that’s getting harder to ignore. Jesse Williams’ instantly iconic (and viral) speech at the BET Awards last month was unapologetic, direct, and galvanizing.
Drake took to Instagram yesterday to vent his frustrations.
And now Beyoncé has stepped into the conversation with a call to action.
Since “Formation” dropped in February and Lemonade in April, Beyoncé has taken an open stand in the Black Lives Matter movement, injecting her videos and lyrics with pro-black messages and taking police forces to task. On the landing page of her website, Beyoncé has penned an open letter addressing the recent killings of Sterling and Castile, and providing links to how you can get involved in the fight for equality and justice by contacting your local politicians.