The #BlackLivesMatter hashtag on Twitter and Facebook has blown up over the past few years, but when you search through it, mostly what you see is people fighting back and forth. Instead of a movement, the hashtag has become a debate.
On Wednesday, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Rihanna and 20 other celebrities released a video reminding us all that this isn’t a debate. When we say #BlackLivesMatter, what we mean is stop killing black people for trivial reasons.
In the video, called “23 Ways You Could be Killed if You Are Black in America”, we see the images of 23 black Americans, mostly males, who have been killed in the last couple of years for things no one should die over.
The 23 celebrities then remind us all of how they ended up dead. When you hear reasons like “walking toward the police” or “failing to signal a lane change” or “wearing a hoodie” for why someone was murdered, you can’t help but be recommitted to demanding change.
The We Are Here Movement responsible for creating the video, hopes that by reminding everyone why these victims were killed, they will bring the focus away from the #BlackLivesMatter vs. #AllLivesMatter distraction and back to what we really need — some changes made in our government.
At the end of the video, Keys asks for support through signatures on the We Are Here petition. She says she wants everyone to urge President Barack Obama and Congress to “right our historic wrongs and heal the wounds of systemic racism so that all Americans have the equal right to pursue happiness.”
On the website, there is a list of every celebrity who appeared in the video next to the name of the victim they represent. The two names that stand out the most are Maxwell and Rihanna, who have “All Black People” written next to their names.
It’s clear that these celebrities are not giving up and will continue to use their platform to bring attention to this issue until something is done to change things. Until people stop dying in a park in Ohio.
When it’s all laid out so simply, it’s hard to imagine anyone making this change a debate.