Drake has penned an open letter on Instagram in response to the death of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man who was shot multiple times and killed during an altercation with two white Baton Rouge police officers on Tuesday. A community activist captured the incident on a cellphone video and posted it online, which circulated quickly. In the aftermath, many in the artist community and beyond are speaking out about the tragedy.
In the open letter, which the rapper posted on Wednesday, he discusses how seeing the video affected him. “It left me feeling disheartened, emotional and truly scared,” he wrote. “I woke up this morning with a strong need to say something.”
As information about the incident and the video circulated, Sterling’s name became a hashtag and the news trended across social media.
“It’s impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago,” he continued. “No one begins their life as a hashtag, yet the trend of being reduced to one continues.”
Drake went on to talk about his concern for the welfare of those he cares about and “any human being that could fall victim to this pattern.” He also expressed his condolences to the Sterling family and others who “have lost someone to this cycle of violence.”
Sterling was shot outside a Louisiana convenience store, which he frequented to sell homemade CDs. Sterling was confronted by police after an anonymous caller alleged someone threatened the caller with a gun outside the store. As news broke of Sterling’s death and the graphic clip spread on Tuesday, it sparked outrage around the country and beyond, and there were protests in Baton Rouge that continued on Wednesday. As AP reports, the U.S. Justice Department launched a civil rights investigation of the incident on Wednesday, and on Wednesday evening, CNN reported that a second video has emerged.
Read Drake’s open letter here.