In the wake of George Floyd’s killing by a Minnesota police officer last week, protests and riots have escalated all over the country. Out of Los Angeles, numerous reports have highlighted damage and vandalism that took place over the weekend. But Vanessa Bryant is expressing gratitude for something that has remained largely unscathed: murals of her late husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant.
Vanessa took to her Instagram Stories on Monday evening to highlight a series of the murals that sprung up around the city following the tragic helicopter crash that took their lives in January. One mural showing Kobe with eldest daughter Natalia was even threatened by fire. Vanessa shared a video of a news report showing a building ablaze as firefighters worked to extinguish it. In the clip, the news reporter points out that the mural of Kobe and Natalia on the neighboring building survived the blaze. “Mural of Kobe (and Natalia) saved,” Vanessa captioned a screenshot of the news report.
Vanessa continued, sharing other murals that remained “untouched.” She also retweeted a fan account showing a pink building featuring a mural of Kobe. “They know Kobe is off limits,” the fan account captioned the photo of the artwork.
Since Floyd’s death on May 25, Vanessa has been vocal about racism, police brutality, and the need for systemic change. On Saturday night, she shared a throwback photo of Kobe on the basketball court wearing a shirt reading “I can’t breathe” — a phrase widely associated with the killing of Eric Garner by police and, now, Floyd as well.
“My husband wore this shirt years ago and yet here we are again. #ICANTBREATHE. Life is so fragile. Life is so unpredictable. Life is too short,” she captioned the 2014 snapshot of Kobe. “Let’s share and embrace the beautiful qualities and similarities we all share as people. Drive out hate. Teach respect and love for all at home and school. Spread LOVE. Fight for change — register to VOTE. Do not use innocent lost lives as an excuse to loot. BE AN EXAMPLE OF THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE #BLACKLIVES MATTER.”
Vanessa also took part in Blackout Tuesday, a social media movement intended to indicate a stand against the “racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard.” The movement has seen people posting black squares on social media to signify their solidarity.