On Monday 25 May, 46-year-old African-American George Floyd died in custody after an officer from the Minneapolis Police Department knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, according to court documents shared by The New York Times – in spite of the fact that Floyd repeatedly cried out that he could no longer breathe. Floyd had allegedly been trying to purchase groceries with a fake $20 bill, leading an employee of the nearby Cup Foods store to report a “forgery in process”.

When bystanders shared graphic footage of the incident captured on their phones, it triggered widespread outrage – giving rise to mass protests across the US in cities ranging from Atlanta to Dallas. While the state has now charged Derek Chauvin, who restrained Floyd, with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, the three other officers on the scene have yet to be charged. All four have been terminated from the Minneapolis Police Department.

Celebrities have flocked to social media to demand justice for George Floyd and his family. “For the last few days, the magnitude of devastation, anger, [and] sadness I’ve felt has been overwhelming to say the least,” Rihanna wrote on Instagram on 29 May. “Watching my people get murdered and lynched day after day pushed me to a heavy place in my heart… If intentional murder is the fit consequence for ‘drugs’ or ‘resisting arrest’, then what’s the fit consequence for murder?”

Meanwhile, Beyoncé recorded a dedicated video on the subject, encouraging her followers to sign petitions calling for justice via Change.orgColor of ChangeWe Can’t Breathe, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight,” she says in the clip. “We’re broken and we’re disgusted. We cannot normalise this pain. I’m not only speaking to people of colour. If you’re white, black, brown, or anything in between, I’m sure you feel hopeless about the racism going on in America right now.”

Below, more powerful messages from celebrities around the world.


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For the last few days, the magnitude of devastation, anger, sadness I’ve felt has been overwhelming to say the least! Watching my people get murdered and lynched day after day pushed me to a heavy place in my heart! To the point of staying away from socials, just to avoid hearing the blood curdling agony in George Floyd’s voice again, begging over and over for his life!!! The look of enticement, the pure joy and climax on the face of this bigot, murderer, thug, pig, bum, Derek Chauvin, haunts me!! I can’t shake this! I can’t get over an ambulance pulling up to an arrest, a paramedic checking a pulse without removing the very thing that’s hindering it! Is this that fucking normal??? If intentional MURDER is the fit consequence for “drugs” or “resisting arrest”….then what’s the fit consequence for MURDER???! #GeorgeFloyd #AhmaudArbery #BreonnaTaylor

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It’s heartbreaking that we’re honoring yet another life that was lost due to the violence and racism our country displays far too often. To say that racism is alive today would be a gross understatement, and to say that white privilege doesn’t exist is ignorance at its finest. We live in a country that denies the same freedom and rights to someone based on the color of their skin… black men, women and children are being MURDERED because of the color of their skin while white men, women and children majority of the time receive a slap on the wrist at best. I am tired, I’m angry, I’m sad, and I will not stay quiet. Changes need to be made, and people need to be behind bars for their actions.. Rest In Peace George Floyd.

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Last night at dinner, my 7-year-old asked why all the grown ups were so upset. We spoke to him about what happened to George Floyd. Being a white mother trying to explain racism and bigotry to her white son, who did not understand why anyone would treat another human being that way, was heartbreaking. But not nearly as heartbreaking as being a victim of one of these senseless, violent, unconscionable crimes. Not nearly as heartbreaking as being one of the families who have experienced loss and harassment and discrimination daily. Not nearly as heartbreaking as being a mother who lives in fear of what will happen to her children in this world. I grew up going to church. We were taught that we were all the same in the eyes of God. We all breathe the same air. We all bleed the same blood. But that is not what I grew up seeing. It was as hard for me to reconcile the difference between what I was taught in church and what I see in the world. I don’t want that for my kids. Or for yours. We have to be held accountable for what is happening in this country. What happened to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery – and countless others – can not go without justice. Please talk to your children about racism, privilege, bigotry and hate. If you aren’t talking to them, someone else is. Regarding comments: I urge you to share this space for meaningful discussion, not hate. There is enough hate in the world. I hope this can be a space for discussion, understanding, growth and LOVE. We all need more of that.

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In the words of @tyrinturner “now you get it…” #changecourse

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Originally published on British Vogue