In a new video presented by Mic in collaboration with Alicia Keys and the We Are Here Movement, the artists and celebrities list the “23 Ways You Could Be Killed If You Are Black in America.” In a somber black and white visual, each person explains a way that you can be killed in America before showing the growing list of individuals who have been during routine traffic stops or just by going about your day.
“Failing to signal a lane change,” says Keys before the screen shows an image of Sandra Bland. “Riding in your girlfriend’s car with a child in the back,” explains Beyoncé before a picture of Philando Castile is shown. “Running in your bathroom to your own apartment,” “selling cigarettes outside of a corner store,” “walking home with a friend.” The deeply troubling, but very truthful list continues as each individual lends their voice to the simple, but emotionally disturbing visual.
The powerful video arrives at a crucial time for our country who is up in arms over the senseless and continual killings of blacks in America a week after Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were both shot and killed. Days later, a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Texas erupted into pandemonium with several officers being shot and killed in the line of duty and other officers and civilians being injured.
In the past few weeks, artists have been utilizing their platform to speak up and mobilize support to create change. Drake penned an important note about the strained relationship between police and the black and brown communities. Jay Z, Miguel, Swizz Beatz, Mistah Fab, and and others released protest songs as a way to cope and inspire in the wake of tragedy. Snoop Dogg and The Game organized a peaceful protest to LAPD headquarters. Undoubtedly, this new video of artists explaining the urgent need to take action and heal America’s history of systemic racism will also help to fuel change.