Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman is adding himself to list of celebs voicing their outrage and concern for police brutality with the release of his video “How Many More?” Since news of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile‘s deaths at the hands of police officers, numerous celebrities have found ways to campaign against police brutality. Beyoncé wrote that “it is up to us to take a stand and demand that they ‘stop killing us.’” Also on IG, Drake offered: “I’m concerned…for the safety of my family, my friends, and any human being that could victim to this pattern.” Outside of music, Kim Kardashian, LeBron James and others penned letters stating their support for Black Lives Matter.
One may not immediately associate social commentary with Boyz II Men, but Stockman clearly has a perspective on the current national dialogue–and he delivers it powerfully.
The touching visual for “How Many More” opens with yellow police tape and a group of young Black men in suits standing behind the “restricted area.” As a piano plays in the background, various images of protests and funerals that have taken place across the country are shown; eventually leading to the faces of Black men and women who have lost their lives to police brutality. Images of Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Alton Sterling flash onscreen as Stockman’s voice rings in at the sound of the piano asking, “How many more? While we mourn lives of our girls and our boys.”
The four-minute video shows moving imagery of numerous celebrities and activists that have come together to make their voices heard in an attempt to literally beg for change. As pictures of victims of police violence remind us that racism isn’t dead, Stockman sings, “How many more ’til we scream together with one voice…Where can we hide where the rest of us have a chance to survive…in a world that stands against us, where do we run to grow old and grey and still see the sun?” He continues, “We shouldn’t have to die to live.”
Stockman ends video with the hashtag #HowManyMore scrolling across the screen just before delivering a stirring quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s final speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.”
“I can remember, I can remember when negroes were just going around, as Ralph [Abernathy] has said, scratching where they didn’t itch, and laughing when they were not tickled. But that day is all over. We mean business now, and we are determined to gain our rightful place in God’s world – and that’s all this whole thing is about. We aren’t engaged with any negative protests or any negative arguments with anybody. We are saying that we are determined to be men; we are determined to be people. We are saying that we are God’s children, and that we don’t have to live like we are forced to live.”