Pop Culture

Lady Gaga, Lil Nas X, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Others Use Their Platform To Stand Against Inequality

During Saturday night’s broadcast of CNN Tonight host Don Lemon asked a simple question: “What about Hollywood?” Despite the protests against police brutality that had gripped the nation for several days, he noted members of the entertainment industry were being “strangely quiet.”

As the demonstrations—sparked by outrage over the death of George Floyd—the anchor spoke bluntly to a very specific audience of, in his words, “gazillionaires and movie stars.”

“Stop making excuses,” he charged—suggesting that many celebrities are too worried about their brands to take a stand.

Whether spurred on by Lemon’s words or not, more celebrities seem to be speaking up Sunday. Lady Gaga issued a lengthy statement via social media, in which she said, among other things, that “right now is a critical time for black community to be supported by all other communities so we can put a stop to something that is intrinsically wrong.”

Anna Kendrick shared a video showing aggressive police tactics from demonstrations across the country, castigating the cops for using excessive force: “They couldn’t stop themselves from blatantly escalating things,” she wrote. “Even for a few days, even cynically, even for the optics.”

Sarah Silverman expressed her sentiments in a thread in which she attempted to explain the psychological toll of systemic prejudice to those who have been lucky enough not to experience it.

Lil Nas X communicated in the lingua franca of his generation, using Spongebob Squarepants memes to echo Don Lemon’s sentiments.

Ellen DeGeneres said she was angry and sad.

NBA legend, Airplane! co-star, and prolific writer Kareem Abdul Jabbar went far deeper than a tweet, penning an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times which explains just what the weekend’s uprisings have been about. The title of his piece? “Don’t understand the protests? What you’re seeing is people pushed to the edge.” It could also easily have been called “Email this to your conservative, white uncle if you have one. Maybe it will help.”

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