"The unjust, vicious murder of a teenager, by a law enforcement agency." Sounds like a teaser for a movie. Actually, it was a movie, Fruitvale Station, but imagine this was a big budget film, with Ben Affleck directing. Taylor Swift might want to be in it, since she's acting now, and this could be huge for her. Maybe she would play the victim's girlfriend or sister. Maybe, Taylor Swift would actually play the youth who gets killed. What a compelling drama. Oh, but wait -- this is not a movie, this is real life, and a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, beauty did not get gunned down. Michael Brown did.
We should all be familiar with the narrative by now. Brown, a teenager, was ruthlessly shot and killed, on a Saturday afternoon this past August, by Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson. Brown's body was left uncovered for four hours, in a pool of his own blood, for everyone in the community to see. Hours later, a state-controlled campaign, criminalizing Brown and protecting Wilson, was initiated. Enraged but peaceful, protesters took to the streets and were met with tear gas, threatened with arms and put in jail.
Darren Wilson has yet to be arrested. Taylor Swift has yet to say a thing about it.
And it's not just Taylor. Justin Timberlake has yet to comment. Miley Cyrus has yet to comment. Ferguson, Missouri was a war zone for the better part of August and Katy Perry has yet to make a comment about it. Ben Affleck has yet to comment. If this were, in fact, a movie, I'm sure Ben would, at least, want to produce the film. The synopsis seems on par with some other crime dramas he's made. Justin Timberlake might volunteer to play the role of a Ferguson police officer and Miley, for sure, would want to walk the red carpet at the movie premiere. Folks would pay attention. White folks would pay attention. So why aren't white folks paying attention now? Is the unjust vicious murder of a black teenager, not compelling enough to make a statement? Or maybe the lack of acknowledgment, is a statement in itself. Maybe Kanye was right, except maybe, George Bush is not the only person who "doesn't care about black people." I don't want to make assumptions but, I just can't wrap my head around why we are all not coming out in droves to support Michael Brown. A select few musicians and actors have put themselves out there time and again, Common, John Legend, Jesse L. Williams, etc. But let me not mince words: I cannot understand why white artists have not come out, in solidarity, to defend our young people. I'm just asking human beings to speak out against the extrajudicial executions of our youth.
I was at the Climate March in NYC, a couple weekends ago, and there were all sorts of people out there marching and rallying, for the betterment of our beloved environment. It was a diverse crowd and it was beautiful. But I noticed something. I noticed a great deal of white faces who I don't see when we march for Ramarley Graham, another black teen, shot and killed two years ago by NYPD, in his house, in front of his grandma and six year old brother. I did not see them as we marched for the Central Park Five. Sure, a bunch of them came out for Trayvon Martin, once or twice in Union Square, but then what? Where's the anger? Where's the fury? People tell me, it's about relativity: "Everyone is affected by climate change" but since mostly people of color are getting victimized and criminalized, white people simply can't relate. Really? I cannot comprehend how the murder of an unarmed person, who is somebody's son, daughter, friend, companion or parent, doesn't alarm a broad base of human beings. White mothers and fathers can't relate to the murder and stolen lives of children? Really?? And then we have the nerve to wave the flag of peace and love. Please. Where is the accountability?
I come from the school of Pete Seeger and Harry Belafonte, where artists shaped culture and culture moved artists. Top performers were marching and writing songs and making statements, standing up against injustice. So, where was Taylor Swift when Mike Brown was killed? Where was Taylor Swift when children were getting tear gassed in Ferguson? I am not suggesting it's malicious; Perhaps, Taylor is just too busy shaking it off (see her latest single) to realize what's happening around her. So, I'm going to take this opportunity, Taylor, to challenge you and others like you: You have a platform, a powerful platform. What is your position? What are you here for? What is your purpose? Michael Brown just got murdered. Trayvon Martin just got murdered. Ezell Ford just got murdered. Oscar Grant just got murdered. Sean Bell just got murdered. Renisha McBride just got murdered. John Crawford just got murdered. Taylor Swift, I can't just shake this off! I'm furious. And I need you to be furious too. Change can only come if we work together. We must be responsible to each other. You have 44.3 million followers on twitter. Use your platform. Save lives.