Beyoncé, Drake Speak Out In Wake of Shootings

After two video recordings of police officers fatally shooting black men surfaced this week, a number of prominent artists have issued statements on the matter, including Beyoncé.

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AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX

In Baton Rouge, La., Alton Sterling was slain early Tuesday morning. Multiple videos of the incident, including one filmed by shopowner Abdullah Muflahi, appear to show police throwing Sterling to the ground, pinning him, then shooting him after noticing a gun.

In Falcon Heights, Minn., Philando Castile was shot Wednesday night after reportedly informing an officer that he was carrying a weapon and then reaching for his wallet. Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds livestreamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook.

The events have reignited national discussions on relations between police and the black community in the U.S., a subject which has sparked movements like #BlackLivesMatter.

Beyoncé updated her website to include the following statement on the landing page:

“We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities.

“It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they ‘STOP KILLING US.’

“We don’t need sympathy. We need everyone to respect our lives.”

The statement continues to say: “Fear is not an excuse. Hate will not win.”

Beyoncé encouraged all to contact their government representatives and demand social and judicial changes. Her website provides links to write to a Congressman or woman.

Other artists have also spoken on the matter.

Drake uploaded a statement on his Instagram earlier this morning that said “It’s impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago. No one begins their life as a hashtag. Yet the trend of being reduced to ones continues.”

Chance the Rapper was more pointed in his criticism on Twitter: “These guys murdered this man with his 4 year old daughter in the backseat? Is there any situation where police get arrested? Or convicted?”

The Game posted a lengthy series of statements on his Instagram which called readers to action, expressing rage and frustration with thoughts like: “They are exterminating us like we are fuckin rats out here people !!!!!!! I don’t have anything cool, educated or peaceful to say… This shit is really fucking krazy !!!!!”

A series of tweets from Justin Timberlake also addressed the subject, saying “Couldn’t even sleep last night… First, #AltonSterling and then this video of #PhilandoCastile being brutally killed. This. Must. Stop.”