It's a situation that simply beggars belief: in 2016, we're discussing police brutality towards black people. Last week, the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and five Dallas police offers during what should have been peaceful protests rocked the entire world. #BlackLivesMatter has been trending on social media ever since, but the tragedy has moved stars including Beyoncé, Jay Z and Kim Kardashian to do more than simply send off a tweet - they've penned thoughtful essays and - in Jay Z's case, written a song - to express their reactions and implore their fans to act. Given their incredible influence and huge fan base, it's no small thing. Here, a look at some of the most powerful celebrity reactions to date.
Head to Beyoncé's homepage and you'll be confronted with a stark black screen and an equally strong message: "We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities," Beyoncé writes. "We all have the power to channel our anger and frustration into action. We must use our voices to contact the politicians and legislators in our districts and demand social and judicial changes. While we pray for the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, we will also pray for an end to this plague of injustice in our communities." At her concert in Glasgow last week, the star held a minute of silence while a list of names of black people killed by police was broadcast behind her.
Jay Z has released a track on Tidal titled Spiritual in response to the situation, which he says he began when 18-year-old Mike Brown was shot by police in Ferguson in 2014. In an accompanying statement, he writes, "I'm hurt that I knew his death wouldn't be the last. I'm saddened and disappointed in THIS America- we should be further along. We are not. I trust God and know everything that happens is for our greatest good, but man... it's tough right now."
Drake has called for change on his Instagram account, uploading the above essay to his 25 million + followers. "This is real and I'm concerned. Concerned for the safety of my family, my friends and any human being that could fall victim to this pattern," he writes. "It's impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago. No one begins their life as a hashtag. Yet the trend of being reduced to one continues."
Kim Kardashian has penned an essay on her website (above), saying, "I want my children to grow up knowing that their lives matter." She added, "The last thing we need is to fuel anger with more hate or violence, especially toward the many incredible police officers who risk their lives every single day to protect our families and communities."
These Dallas shootings are horrific. Killing these officers is morally reprehensible and completely counterproductive to keeping us safe.— John Legend (@johnlegend) July 8, 2016
John Legend has expressed his thoughts on twitter, posting the above and much more, including: "Being against cops killing is not equal to killing cops. We need peace in our streets."
And rapper Tyga said what we're all thinking:
we think this is bad if we don't get out and vote and Donald Trump gets in office were really fucked!! black lives matter!!all lives matter!— T-Raww (@Tyga) July 7, 2016