Celebrities are taking action against inequality and police brutality following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.
The horrifying video of Floyd’s death spread quickly on social media last week, sparking protests around the country and calls for justice against the officer who continued to restrict Floyd’s airway as he repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
Chrissy Teigen originally donated $100,000 to bail out protesters who were arrested as they spoke out across the country. After she received criticism on social media from commentators who called the recipients “rioters and criminals,” Teigen doubled her donation.
“They may need more money then. Make it $200,000,” Teigen tweeted Saturday.
“I stand with our heroes out there in support and solidarity,” she wrote on Instagram. “If you don’t know what else to do, every little bit helps.”
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Jay-Z took to Instagram to discuss his conversation with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz.
“After our very earnest conversation, thank you to Governor Walz for doing what’s right and calling in Attorney General Keith Ellison to take over the George Floyd case,” he wrote. “Earlier today, Governor Walz mentioned having a human conversation with me – a dad and a black man in pain. Yet, I am a human, a father and a black man in pain, and I am not the only one.”
He continued, “Now I, along with an entire country in pain, call upon AG Ellison to do the right thing and prosecute all those responsible for the murder of George Floyd to the fullest extent of the law.”
Model Gigi Hadid also donated to bail funds, seeking advice on which groups to give to. When she drew Twitter criticism for supporting “rioters” with the bail money, Hadid responded.
“Have you not seen all the videos of people peacefully protesting / kneeling / literally just standing on the sidewalk reporting,” she wrote. “Live on the news getting pepper sprayed / shot w rubber bullets / arrested / etc.”
Jane Fonda wrote a blog post about Floyd on her website Sunday.
“My heart breaks for what’s happening, for the pain and grief and rage caused by George Floyd’s murder. And grief for his family. I beg people reading this to understand that his murder is a match thrown on the dry tinder of racism,” she wrote.
She also appeared on CNN Sunday, saying policy change needs to happen. “We need to get rid of this administration,” she said. “We’re at a very important moment, we have an election coming… we have a race crisis. And we have a choice to make. We can keep seeing all these things happen, or we can do something about it”
Spike Lee also made an apperance on CNN Sunday to discuss the Floyd protests.
“How can people not understand why people reacting the way they are?” he said. “This is history again and again and again. This is not new… People are reacting the way they feel they have to – to be heard.”
Lee also released a short film on his Twitter with the title “Will History Stop Repeating Itself?” In the video, there are clips shown of Floyd, Eric Garner and Radio Raheem, the character in Lee’s 1989 film “Do the Right Thing.”
Justin Bieber posted on Instagram Sunday, critical of the response to the police officers involved in Floyd’s death. One former Minneapolis police officer has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after the shocking video of him fatally kneeling, for nearly nine minutes, on Floyd’s neck set off the wave of protests.
Three other police officers nearby were fired, but have not been charged with a crime.
“They’d rather let the nation burn then arrest 3 of their own,” Bieber wrote. “Let that sink in.”
Rapper and actor Ice T posted a painting with the Statute of Liberty, with a knee on her neck, on Twitter.
“Answers? I may not have all the answers,” he wrote in another tweet. “But DEFINITELY warned you about the Problem.. For over 30 (years).”
Lady Gaga posted a lengthy missive critical of President Trump on Twitter Saturday.
“I do not wish to contribute to more violence, I wish to contribute to a solution. I am outraged by the death of George Floyd as I have been by the deaths of exponentially too many black lives over hundreds of years that have been taken from us in this country as a result of systemic racism and the corrupt system that supports it,” she wrote.
“The voices of the black community have been silenced for too long and that silence has proven deadly time and time again. And no matter what they do to protest, they are still met with no compassion by the leaders that are meant to protect them. Everyday people in America are racist, that’s a fact.”
The pop star then took aim at Trump, calling the president a “fool.”
“We have known for a long time that President Trump has failed. He holds the most powerful office in the world, yet offers nothing but ignorance and prejudice while black lives continue to be taken.” Gaga wrote. “We have known he is a fool, and a racist, since he took office. He is fueling a system that is already rooted in racism, and racist activity, and we can all see what is happening. It’s time for a change.”
On Friday, Beyoncé urged her 147 million Instagram followers to sign several petitions to seek justice for Floyd in a rare statement.
“Someone has been charged, but justice is far from being achieved,” wrote Beyoncé, who usually keeps a low social media profile. “Please sign the petition and continue to pray for peace and compassion and healing for our country.”
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Kevin Hart sent off multiple tweets Sunday, decrying news media coverage of looting rather than focusing on the social outrage.
“This is not about RIOTING & LOOTING,” the actor wrote. “Do not let that become the narrative…..This is about social injustice….THIS IS ABOUT THE UNFAIR TREATMENT THAT PEOPLE OF COLOR HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH YEEEAAAARRRRSSS!!!!! THATS WHAT THIS IS ABOUT.”
“Be apart of the conversation of change,” Hart wrote. “We want and need change.”
Shania Twain posted a statement Sunday saying, “Enough is enough.”
“I stand with the Black community and all of those who are anti-racism,” the singer wrote.
Jamie Foxx flew to Minneapolis, where he joined community leaders and social justice activists.
“We’re not afraid to stand. We’re not afraid of the moment,” Foxx said during an impassioned press conference at Minneapolis’ City Hall on Friday. “To watch this man plead for his life as I sit with my two daughters, my nephews who had just come from the grocery store.”
He added: “I’m not a celebrity, I’m from Terrell, Texas. These are my brothers. This means everything because at the end of the day, when we see you guys out here on the front lines, we want to let you know you’ve got support.”
“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda announced he’s donating to the Louisville Community Bail Fund to aid arrested protesters and encouraged his followers to do the same.
“If you are heartsick over racism & injustice, let it manifest action, work towards justice, however you can manage. God keep you safe,” he said, adding, “If you cannot donate, amplify/volunteer.”
Other celebrities are donating to the Minnesota Freedom Fund to bail out protesters, too. In a “matched” donation chain going around Twitter, Seth Rogen tweeted that he had “matched” donations as well as donating more.
Lil Nas X posted an apology on Twitter for not speaking out more. “I am sorry for not using my platform to speak up more on the situation,” he wrote. “I honestly feel as though it has become so normalized that even i myself am numb to police brutality towards black people. i hope this time around something changes.”
The “Old Town Road” singer followed up with another tweet including a call to action. “i won’t pretend it isn’t happening tho,” he wrote, linking to the Minnesota Freedom Fund and a Change.org petition, which garnered nearly 7 million signatures by Saturday morning.
Contributing: Sara M Moniuszko, Cydney Henderson and Morgan Hines, USA TODAY