Celebrities are taking action against inequality and police brutality following the death of George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man who died May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck as he gasped, “Please, I can’t breathe!”
K-pop superstars BTS have donated $1 million to Black Lives Matter, the group’s record label Big Hits Entertainment and Black Lives Matter managing director Kailee Scales confirmed Saturday to Variety.
The band took a rare political stand a few days earlier on Twitter. “We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected,” they tweeted. “We will stand together. #BlackLivesMatter.”
USA TODAY has reached out to BTS’ representatives for comment.
우리는 인종차별에 반대합니다.
우리는 폭력에 반대합니다.
나, 당신, 우리 모두는 존중받을 권리가 있습니다. 함께 하겠습니다.
We stand against racial discrimination.
We condemn violence.
You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.#BlackLivesMatter
— 방탄소년단 (@BTS_twt) June 4, 2020
Michael B. Jordan showed his support for the Black Lives Matter movement by showing up at a protest in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Photos shared on social media by fellow attendees showed the “Just Mercy” and “Black Panther” star speaking at the march.
“What we are doing today will make our voices heard and our values heard. We’ve got to keep doing it, we’ve got to keep agitating things,” he told the crowd, urging protesters to vote and Hollywood to commit to black hiring. “We can’t be complacent. We can’t let this moment just pass us by, we have to continue to put our foot on their necks.”
Justin Bieber weighed in Saturday in support of the movement, saying he has been “inspired by black culture” and “benefited from black culture.”
“I am committed to using my platform from this day forward to learn, to speak up about racial injustice and systemic oppression, and to identify ways to be a part of much needed change,” he wrote.
Victoria Beckham chimed in, too.
“I’ve taken a step back this week to focus on the tragic events that have been highlighted recently,” she wrote on Instagram. “Watching things unfold and learning more about the Black Lives Matter movement, I’ve been truly sickened by how deeply ingrained racism is in our society. It’s clear that it’s each of our responsibilities to speak out and I want to use my platform for education, conversation and change. The fashion industry has a huge role to play, and for me, it starts with representation, both within my business and who we work with externally.”
On Friday, Paul McCartney released a statement in support of racial equality. He recalled how, in 1964, the Beatles learned the crowd at their Jacksonville, Florida, concert was going to be segregated. The band refused to play unless the show was desegregated, which promoters and local officials did.
“I feel sick and angry that here we are almost 60 years later and the world is in shock at the horrific scenes of the senseless murder of George Floyd at the hands of police racism, along with the countless others that came before,” he wrote, then linked to organizations that “support the fight for racial justice.”
On Thursday, Kanye West appeared in Chicago at a “Justice for George Floyd/CPD out of CPS” rally on the city’s South Side. That same day The Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, confirmed he offered to pay the legal fees for the family of slain emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor in their civil lawsuit against the Louisville Metro Police Department. West is donating $2 million that will help Taylor’s case in addition to efforts for the families of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, West’s representative Tammy Brook confirmed to USA TODAY.
On Wednesday, Beyoncé took to Instagram to share a message about the protests.
“The world came together for George Floyd,” the singer, 38, wrote on a photo showing a crowd of protesters in Minneapolis. “We know there is a long road ahead. Let’s remain aligned and focused in our call for real justice.”
More protest highlights: ‘Star Wars’ star John Boyega gives emotional speech at London protest
‘George Floyd’s life mattered’: Duchess Meghan gives emotional graduation speech amid protests
Contributing: Kim Willis, Rasha Ali, Gary Dinges, Bryan Alexander and Sara M. Moniuszko, USA TODAY
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: George Floyd death: BTS, Justin Bieber, Michael B. Jordan take action