Yesterday was Black Out Tuesday, in which the world of entertainment showed their support for Black Lives Matter by posting black square images to their social media pages. The jury’s out on whether this is a nice statement of solidarity with the protestors or simply a way to get some social media cache for piggybacking on a popular movement, but at least those posting it are on the right side of the argument.
One person who probably can’t be accused of doing this simply to raise his profile is Idris Elba, who has a long history of drawing attention to systemic racism and discrimination. He posted the black square yesterday along with lyrics saying:
“This ain’t a movie/ ain’t calling cut/ we cutting the throat of the old system/so if you ain’t with us/ then you better run. New breed.”
This ain’t a movie/ ain’t calling cut/ we cutting the throat of the old system/so if you ain’t with us/ then you better run. New breed. pic.twitter.com/sRop2VVhKl
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) June 2, 2020
These are lyrics from James BKS’ song “New Breed,” which features Q-Tip, Amrbilia, and Elba himself. The lyrics quoted are from the actor’s appearance on the song, with his full verse not holding back.
Africa Africa, oh Africa
We bout to blow like a harmonica
We bout to show you that everything you stole is living and breathing and coming right back at ya!
Ah listen, everything circular, begin and will end with us I can tell by the look in your face
When you look in our eyes you really just scared of us The New Breed, coming down that mountain
We ain’t afraid of no ting
Fuck all that slave ting, no way
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Many other celebrities posted similar comments yesterday, too. Mahershala Ali, soon to be the MCU’s Blade, followed up his black square post with a command for his followers to VOTE and a piece of poetry by Amir Sulaiman. Samuel L. Jackson, meanwhile, accompanied his post with a list of names of people murdered by cops, listing George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubrey, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray.
“I stand with my heart filled with love because that’s what my people have given me from the first moment I took a breath. I rise like the Phoenix out of the ashes because that is what my people have taught me. You may sit on my neck to silent my voice and yet I will always sing the song of peace because that is what my people tell me to do every day. Now more than ever I am proud to be black!! I am proud my sons are black. I am proud of every person that stands, rises and sings with me.”
While the Black Lives Matter movement doesn’t need celebrity support, famous people can certainly assist it by contributing their wealth and resources to bail funds for protestors. Let’s hope the majority of those posting the black square yesterday will put their money where their mouth is (like Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively) and reach into their deep pockets.