For the Black community, yesterday was a day of sadness and mourning. News that a young white gunman shot and killed 9 Black men and women in their place of worship— the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston— circulated tearing a gaping hole into the hearts of many Americans, Black and white alike.
Left: Susie Jackson | Top Row: Cynthia Hurd DePayne Doctor, and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton | Bottom row: Daniel Simmons Sr., Tywanza Sanders, and Clementa Pinckney (Image Credit: The Grio)
But for Black entertainers, it was another day of business as usual. As the Black community continues to confront racism and hatred from not only the police force and judicial system, but average white citizens who are not only hyper vigilant but filled with hate for people of color, it is baffling that so many of these artist have not only remained silent about these issues, but even had the nerve to carry on with business as usual on some of the most historically tragic days America has faced in decades. Though there are some artists who have spoken up and offered not only condolences, but words of support.
Solange Released this tweet that spoke to all of our weary hearts:
Was already weary. Was already heavy hearted. Was already tired. Where can we be safe? Where can we be free? Where can we be black?
— solange knowles (@solangeknowles) June 18, 2015
Kerry Washington, Sanaa Lathan and Nicki Minaj offered their prayers:
— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) June 18, 2015
Innocent people gathering to worship God are brutally murdered. Smh. Cherish life you guys…and cherish the people u love. — NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) June 18, 2015
— KELENDRIA ROWLAND (@KELLYROWLAND) June 18, 2015
— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) June 18, 2015
What happened in Charleston is an act of terror committed by a terrorist. Simple & plain. I wish those folks in that church had been armed — Killer Mike (@KillerMikeGTO) June 18, 2015
Charleston. My heart hurts.
— John Legend (@johnlegend) June 18, 2015
here has also been astounding silence, as well. Or worse yet, some of these artists have been straight up disrespectfully dismissive.
Chris Brown issued tweets to market his new video:
— Chris Brown (@chrisbrown) June 18, 2015
Matter of fact, he is among a long list of artist who thought their money was more important than the Black community.
Travie McCoy released a video because he felt “golden”:
DAMN! 700k plays on the Golden video!! THANK YOU https://t.co/9hRwhFwjEl
— Travie McCoy (@TravieMcCoy) June 18, 2015
A$ap Rocky reminded us that his new album was dropping:
OFFICIAL ALBUM RELASE IN STORES AND ONLINE @ MIDNIGHT TONIGHT , THANX FOR LISTENING , HOPE YALH ENJOYED . BLESS …. A$VP X LIFE X RIP YAMS — LORD FLACKO JODYE II (@asvpxrocky) May 26, 2015
The Weekend hinted that his album is almost finished:
normal is ugly.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) June 15, 2015
And Kendrick Lamar was too busy tweeting about hats to even publicly acknowledge the Charleston Shooting, despite the claims that he makes music for revolutionaries:
Pac lives on. — Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar) June 17, 2015
— TopDawgEnt (@TopDawgEnt) June 17, 2015
If these artist did not make a statement on the day, but were respectful enough to simply not market, then there would be less harsh judgements to be made, but the “business as usual” attitudes widely displayed by these men and women spit in the face of the Black community. And guess who was more vocal than these Black artist? White ones. Hayley from Paramore had a very thoughtful statement to inject into the discussion:
Heartbreaking news from Charleston – my thoughts and prayers are with you all. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 18, 2015
Plane landed, turned on my phone, and my heart dropped to the floor. Charleston… This is an unbearable loss of lives and innocence. — Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) June 18, 2015
Even Josh Groban made a statement:
Woke up to the horrid news. What can be said? Shooter doesn’t deserve our curiosity. Absolute terrorism. Charleston is in my heart today.
— josh groban (@joshgroban) June 18, 2015
This post is not just about publicly shaming these artists, but it also serves to shame us as consumers. When will Black people demand more from Black artists? Was it not Hip-hop music that once spoke to the plight of the Black people? Now we accept music about “hoes”, “weed” and money in its place?
I think Black folks must really reevaluate who they are supporting with their dollars. It most certainly should not be individuals who do not care to reciprocate that support.
Image Credits: AP/The Grio