While citizens nationwide are protesting the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis officer kneeled on his neck for nine minutes, musicians and others in the music industry are also speaking up and looking for ways to help end racism and bring about accountability.
We at Billboard — like the many artists, companies, music industry professionals and more — are also adding our voices to stand in solidarity.
Here is a look at how musicians and others in the industry are helping, and inviting you to do the same:
“We need justice for George Floyd,” Beyonce began a May 29 Instagram video, urging her followers to sign petitions that will help seek justice. There are numerous petitions — including from Change.org, MoveOn.org, and Amnesty International, among others — that people can sign, collected on the website BlackLivesMatters.carrd.co.
More petitions you can sign:
- We Can’t Breathe
- Grassroots Law Project’s Justice for Floyd
- Justice for Floyd on MoveOn.org
- Justice for George Floyd on Change.org
- Amnesty International: Justice for George Floyd
- Charge the Minneapolis Police Officers on Change.org
- Color of Change
- Reclaim the Block
- Justice for Breonna Taylor on Change.org
- Justice for Ahmuad Arbery on Change.org
- Life Sentence for Police Brutality on Change.org
Celebrities are donating to help pay the bail for protesters who have been arrested during demonstrations around the country. John Legend and Chrissy Teigen announced on May 30 that she was donating $200,000, while Janelle Monae and Kehlani have donated to MinnesotaFreedomFund.org. Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda is also helping pay bail by donating to the Louisville Community Bail Fund.
Meanwhile, Bon Iver donated $30,000 to the George Floyd Memorial Fund, Reclaim the Block and Black Visions Collective, as well as the Minnesota Freedom Fund. Ozzy Osbourne is also donating a cut of merch to NAACP. And Kehlani called on her fellow musicians to match her $2,000 donation to Peoples Programs, which is working to bail out black protesters in Oakland.
The Weeknd donated $500,000 to non-profits that are committed to racial equality, but to try to make an even bigger impact, he challenged music labels and streaming services to “go big” with their donations.
Other ways to donate:
- ACLU of Minnesota
- George Floyd GoFundMe
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- Restoring Justice
- Peoples City Council Freedom Fund
- Black Lives Matter Los Angeles
- Black Lives Matter Seattle Freedom Fund
- Black Lives Matter Global Network
- Know Your Rights Camp
- Atlanta Solidarity Fund
- Brooklyn Community Bail Fund
- Free Them All for Public Health
- Philadelphia Bail Fund
- Action Network of Atlanta
- Colorado Freedom Fund
- People’s Breakfast Oakland
- Massachusetts Bail Fund
- The Bail Project
- Los Angeles Action Bail Fund
- Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere-Los Angeles
- Local bail funds
- North Star Health Collective
- National Bail Out
One way to encourage change is to register to vote and head to the polls, something that Cardi B. is urging her fans to do. “When I say voting, I’m not only talking about the president,” she told her followers in an Instagram video May 29 addressing Floyd’s death. “We could vote for mayors, we could vote for judges, and we could also vote for D.A.s.”
Taylor Swift also emphasized the importance of voting in what has now become her most popular tweet yet. Her message, which called out Donald Trump for “stoking the fires of white supremacy,” ended with a message to the president: “We will vote you out in November.”
On Black Out Tuesday (June 2), numerous artists — including Questlove, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube — also reminded followers to hit the polls and how important voting is to enact change.
Learn how to register to vote in your state here.
Call Your Lawmakers
Pick up the phone and dial your local and national politicians. And that includes ringing Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota, both Megan Thee Stallion and Miley Cyrus have pointed out. “WE MUST DEMAND JUSTICE FOR GEORGE FLOYD,” the “Hot Girl Summer” singer insisted on Instagram, while Cyrus tweeted, “please call the Minnesota Governor at 651-201-3400 and Attorney General to demand #justiceforGeorgeFloyd.“
One person who did pick up the phone? Jay-Z. The music mogul was calling with his concern as a dad. “Governor Walz mentioned having a human conversation with me – a dad and a black man in pain,” Jay-Z said, confirming his call with the governor. “YES, I am human, a father and a black man in pain and I am not the only one.”
The initiative #TheShowMustBePaused is also urging people to call L.A.’s Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city council, who plan to give police $3.1 billion in funding while cutting $230 million from services in the proposed budget.
Learn how you can contact federal, state and local elected officials here.
Speak Out and Get Organized
Rapper Killer Mike spoke at a press conference in Atlanta May 29 urging protesters to be peaceful, and instead of violence and destruction, to “plan, organize and mobilize” against racism. “It is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy,” he said in his now-viral speech. “It is your duty to fortify your own house so that you may be a house of refuge in times of organization.”
Many artists have spoken out after Floyd’s death, and have continued to do so, whether it was over police brutality during the protests, or to express outrage over the president’s speech.
Multiple musicians — including Nick Cannon, Halsey, J. Cole and more — have taken to the streets to join peaceful protests around the country in an effort to have everyone’s voices heard in the fight to end systemic racism. They’re holding up signs, marching, addressing fellow protesters about the importance of speaking up, tending to injured protesters, and more.
You can also protest racial injustice within the music industry, as Kelis did when she challenged labels and streaming services to do more to support black artists. Vice offered several suggestions for how you can do so:
- Buy music and merchandise directly from black artists and black-owned labels.
- Read and share the work done by black music and culture journalists.
- Join the fight for fair pay for musicians by following groups such as ASCAP, Music Workers Alliance, Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, and others on social media, and by signing petitions.
Amplify Black Voices
Shawn Mendes urged people — especially those in the majority — to help black voices be heard. “All of us that are in the majority can’t sit idle any longer while the minority are suffering,” he shared in a graphic on Twitter. “It’s time for ALL humans to demand change. This needs to be EVERYONE’S fight. We need to start to really listen to and help amplify black voices. To make their struggles known and to reject racism. It’s time to take action on that feeling in your heart that knows how wrong this is.”
If you want to join the protests and can’t because you’re immune compromised or live with someone who is — especially with the coronaviruis pandemic still raging — Billie Eilish suggests making and displaying signs for your home and car windows. “if you live with older parents/grandparents/anyone in your family is at higher risk for severe illness and you’re worried about your health but want to protest!: you can always make signs!” the musician offered on Instagram. “don’t just do nothing!”
Lizzo urged her followers to share information about the messaging behind the protests as a way to help inform and educate others, rather than sharing the video of Floyd’s death. “There’s no need to share the video. Share the protest, share the messaging. Share the movement. But don’t share this man’s death,” she said in a video May 31. “This is bigger than that. This is about honoring his life and honoring lives of people of color and black people.”
British radio presenter Clara Amfo also wants people to get educated about the Black Lives Matter movement. “You want to be proudly and ACTIVELY anti-racist, more than fearing being called a racist? I want that for you too,” she wrote on Instagram before sharing a link for readers. “If so, then do the work, educate yourself and others stand by us loudly, consistently, FOREVER.”
Burger Records is on the same page. The independent label shared in an Instagram post noting that racism “is everyone’s problem,” and offered a collection of links for people to “Educate Yourself & Donate.”