“A lot of people I ask to come on this show, to talk about this, [such as] wealthy celebrities, wealthy political people, [say], ‘I can’t do it. I’m mad. I don’t want people to see me mad. It might hurt my business. I’m so upset that I had to go to my country house,’” Lemon said. “Where are you? Why aren’t you fighting for these young people? If you don’t do it now, when are you going to do it? … When the hell are you going to do it?”
Lemon specifically referenced Oprah, Jay-Z, Drake, Ellen DeGeneres, Anthony Anderson, Diddy, Jane Fonda, Tyler Perry, Tracee Ellis Ross and Kim Kardashian West, noting that while giving money is appreciated, “visibility is extremely important because young people need to see people who have made it, so that they can understand that they have made it, too, and they can know publicly, that you have their backs.”
“Step up, people. Step up, black Hollywood,” Lemon said, adding, “Beyoncé released a message. You can’t?”
Lemon was referring to an Instagram post in which the pop singer called for “justice for George Floyd” and urged people to sign a petition on Change.org that seeks to “reach the attention of Mayor Jacob Frey and DA Mike Freeman to beg to have the officers involved in this disgusting situation fired and for charges to be filed immediately.”
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police office who knelt on the neck of Floyd as Floyd cried he could not breathe and later died, has been charged with murder.
“We cannot normalize this pain. I’m not only speaking to people of color. If you’re white, black, brown or anything in between, I’m sure you feel hopeless by the racism going on in America right now,” Beyoncé said in the video. “There have been too many times that we’ve seen these violent killings and no consequences. Yeah, someone’s been charged, but justice is far from being achieved.”
Contrary to Lemon’s comments, Beyoncé was far from the only star speaking out after the death of Floyd.
Several celebrities took to the streets alongside protesters in various cities, including Anna Kendrick, J. Cole, Nick Cannon, Tinashe, Kendrick Sampson, Emily Ratajkowski, Sophia Bush, Machine Gun Kelly and Paris Jackson. Jamie Foxx joined the protests in Minneapolis Friday night after speaking at a news conference earlier in the day.
“I think that what you saw on television, to watch this man plead for his life,” Foxx said. “As I sit with my two daughters, my nephews … what it does is, it overcomplicates everything as a black man trying to tell his son or his daughter how to function in life. Even the things that we’ve taught them don’t seem to work.”
Pop star Halsey, who participated in a protest Saturday in Los Angeles, wrote in her Instagram story that police “opened fire of rubber bullets and tear gas multiple times on us” and that she was “hit twice. Once by pellets and once by shrapnel. We were gassed repeatedly for hours.” She added, “I will be returning.”
Actor John Cusack protested Saturday in Chicago, tweeting throughout the event. “It’s nasty … out there,” he tweeted. “Everyone is on edge things burning- open looting – magnificent mile- and all over.”
“Cops didn’t like me filming the burning car so they came at me with batons. Hitting my bike,” he wrote, including a video.
[Warning: The following video contains strong language.]
Many celebrities — including Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Janelle Monáe and Don Cheadle — publicly donated to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps disadvantaged individuals pay bail. Chrissy Teigen donated $200,000 to the organization.
Others, meanwhile, spoke out in public forums. Rappers T.I. and Killer Mike gave impassioned speeches at the Atlanta mayor’s news conference Friday, urging protesters not to destroy property.
“Atlanta is a place where we can set an example of prosperity, and we’ve done that for generations,” said T.I., calling the city “Wakanda. It’s sacred. It must be protested.”
Killer Mike noted he has “a lot of love and respect for police officers,” as several members of his family served in law enforcement.
“I don’t want to be here,” he said. But “I am duty-bound to be here to simply say that it is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy. … After your burn down your own home, what do you have left but char and ash?”
Killer Mike and El-P, who make up the rap group Run the Jewels, announced Saturday that their newest album, set for release June 5, will be available free. Killer Mike last week on Instagram previewed lyrics from the record that discuss police brutality: “And every day on the evening news they feed you fear for free / And you so numb you watch the cops choke out a man like me / And ’til my voice goes from a shriek to whisper, ’I can’t breathe’ / And you sit there in the house on couch and watch it on TV / The most you give’s a Twitter rant and call it a tragedy.”
This story has been updated.