While many celebrities have donated to bail funds, attended various protests, and spoken up about Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd — there is a group of musicians that have taken their efforts one step further.
Shawn Mendes attended a protest and posted about ways to engage and act concerning racial injustice on his foundation page. On June 5, he also posted an Instagram photo of activist Zyahna Bryant, informing his 56 million followers that he would be handing over his platform to various Black leaders and activists.
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I’ve decided to hand over my platform on Instagram & give my stories for the next few days to some incredible young Black changemakers on the frontlines in the fight against systemic racism. Please receive them with love and solidarity. The first is @zysaidso. You can also head over to @shawnfoundation‘s IG for more information on her efforts. Photo cred: @locsimagestudio
Selena Gomez, with 179 million followers on Instagram, did the same thing. In her caption announcing the platform takeover, she is very clear about her intentions: “I have been struggling to know the right things to say to get the word out about this important moment in history. After thinking about how to best use my social media, I decided that we all need to hear more from black voices.”
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I have been struggling to know the right things to say to get the word out about this important moment in history. After thinking about how best to use my social media, I decided that we all need to hear more from Black voices. Over the next few days I will be highlighting influential leaders and giving them a chance to take over my Instagram so that they can speak directly to all of us. We all have an obligation to do better and we can start by listening with an open heart and mind. ⠀ ⠀ Image Credit: “Speak With Confidence” — Charly Palmer (@charlylpalmer)
Lizzo also offered her platform to the Black Visions Collective of Minneapolis to talk about how the conversation of racial injustice can be pushed forward.
Other celebrities who followed this include Lady Gaga, Hayley Williams of Paramore, and Michael Clifford of 5 Seconds of Summer. While this list is limited, and surely, there are various other celebrities who have shared resources, highlighted ways to get involved, or have been at the frontlines of protests themselves, there is something to note about how these stars are choosing to use their platforms.
This movement is not about followers. It is not about who donated the most or who was most vocal on social media. It’s about recognizing the systemic racism that is so integrated in our world today. Organizations like Black Lives Matter Foundation, Color of Change, and more offer insights into how to start these conversations and how to address change that is sustainable.
It’s no surprise that celebrities have huge platforms. But in a time where education is crucial, where young kids and adults alike follow celebrities, using their platforms to raise Black voices instead of controlling the narrative themselves speaks volumes.