BLACK VOICES
12/09/2016 05:25 pm ET

11 Black Athletes & Celebs Who Took A Stand Against Injustice In 2016

"We all have the power to channel our anger and frustration into action,” said Beyoncé.
Here are 11 black athletes and celebrities who took a stance against injustice in 2016.
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Here are 11 black athletes and celebrities who took a stance against injustice in 2016.

2016 marked another year marred by social injustices ― from the Flint water crisis to a string of fatal police shootings, among others. Such events served as a rallying call for some of our favorite entertainers and sports figures.

Here are 11 black athletes and celebrities who took a stance against injustice in 2016.

  • #JusticeForFlint -- Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay, Jesse Williams
    In February, while some Hollywood names boycotted this year&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/the-oscars/"
    Alberto E. Rodriguez via Getty Images
    In February, while some Hollywood names boycotted this year’s annual Oscar Awards, directors Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay opted instead to create their #JusticeForFlint charity concert. The special event, which featured appearances and performances from the likes of Jesse Williams, Jussie Smollett, Janelle Monae and Stevie Wonder, helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for residents affected by the Flint water crisis.
  • Common
    In June, Common gave fans a taste of his new album, &ldquo;Black America Again&rdquo; by reciting a verse from the project&rs
    Paras Griffin via Getty Images
    In June, Common gave fans a taste of his new album, “Black America Again” by reciting a verse from the project’s title track during an appearance on SiriusXM’s “Sway in the Morning.“  On the thought-provoking track, which features Stevie Wonder, the Chicago native addressed the death of Trayvon Martin, mass incarceration and the Black Lives Matter movement. The rapper-actor headlined Harry Belafonte’s social justice festival, “Many Rivers To Cross" in October.
  • LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul
    <a href="http://fortune.com/2016/07/14/espys-gun-violence-lebron-james/" target="_blank">During this year&rsquo;s annual ESPY
    Image Group LA via Getty Images
    During this year’s annual ESPY Awards in July, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade appeared on stage to encourage their fellow athletes to rebuild American communities divided by racial discrimination, gun violence and police brutality. LeBron said, "We all feel helpless and frustrated by the violence. We do. But that’s not acceptable. It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what are we doing to create change… I know tonight we’re honoring Muhammad Ali. The GOAT. But to do his legacy any justice, let’s use this moment as a call to action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves. It’s for these issues. Speak up. Use our influence. And renounce all violence.”
  • Beyoncé
    In February, Beyonc&eacute; performed at the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/beyonce-coldplay-super-bowl-50-half
    Ezra Shaw via Getty Images
    In February, Beyoncé performed at the Super Bowl halftime show in what some called a "attack" on police. Then in April, she released “Lemonade.” And in the wake of July’s fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, Bey encouraged her fans -- via a statement on her website -- to “take a stand and demand” that “police stop killing us.” She later posted on Instagram: “We All Have The Power To Channel Our Anger And Frustration Into Action.” 
  • Michael Jordan
    Michael Jordan&rsquo;s long stance of&nbsp;remaining silent on social and political issues came to an end in 2016 when&nbsp;t
    NurPhoto via Getty Images
    Michael Jordan’s long stance of remaining silent on social and political issues came to an end in 2016 when the basketball great broke his silence on police brutality. Jordan released a statement to ESPN’s The Undefeated in July suggesting Americans need to find solutions “that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers ... are respected and supported.” In the letter, Jordan also revealed donations of $1 million each to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
  • Carmelo Anthony
    Carmelo Anthony has been socially active since the <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/carmelo-anthony-m
    Sam Greenwood via Getty Images
    Carmelo Anthony has been socially active since the death of Freddie Gray last year. Following his third USA gold medal basketball win at the Summer Olympics, the NBA All-Star used the international stage to explain why more athletes should address the social injustices of America. “Despite everything that’s going on in our country, we’ve got to be united,” he said. “I stepped up to the challenge. This is what it’s about: representing our country on the biggest stage that you can be on. America, we’ll be great again. I believe that. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but it’s one step at a time. I’m glad we represented in the fashion that we did.”
  • Colin Kaepernick
    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/colin-kaepernick/" target="_blank">Colin Kaepernick</a>&nbsp;faced both backlash
    Michael Zagaris via Getty Images
    Colin Kaepernick faced both backlash and praise for refusing to stand for the National Anthem before an Aug. 26 preseason game. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s controversial decision, which was to protest police brutality in America, resulted in death threats and inspired other athletes to participate in their own national anthem protests across the country.
  • T.I.
    2016 marked T.I.&rsquo;s return to music as he presented fans with his socially conscious mixtape &ldquo;<a href="http://hiph
    Paras Griffin/BET via Getty Images
    2016 marked T.I.’s return to music as he presented fans with his socially conscious mixtape “Us or Else” in September. The project found the Atlanta-based rapper touching on issues surrounding social justice and police brutality. During a July radio interview with Hot 97’s Ebro and Peter Rosenberg, T.I. stated that it’s “basically my take on things that are going on, how we got here, why we’re here, speaking to the oppressor and just trying to put something out there, a platform for people to speak so we can address this and move past it.”
  • Harry Belafonte
    Harry Belafonte has an impressive history of humanitarian work. In October the legendary entertainer&rsquo;s social justice o
    Gary Gershoff via Getty Images
    Harry Belafonte has an impressive history of humanitarian work. In October the legendary entertainer’s social justice organization Sankofa.org created the “Many Rivers To Cross Festival.” Featuring performances by T.I., John Legend, Common and Carlos Santana, the two-day music and arts event served as a platform for artists, community organizers and activists to collaborate on the advancement of voting rights, mass incarceration and police relations.
  • Ava DuVernay
    In October,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ava-duvernays-13th-explores-the-evolution-of-the-us-prison-syst
    Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images
    In October, Ava DuVernay released her documentary, "13th," which examines America’s broken justice system. Inspired by the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, the film explores the silver lining in the law, which was exploited and resulted in the mass incarceration of people of color. In an October interview with Complex, the Compton-native said that she hopes “13th” will inspire change. “If there’s anything that is my hope with ‘13th,’ [it’s that it] provides knowledge that can open up doors for compassion, that can open up to change.”
  • Nas
    Nas was inspired so much by Colin Kaepernick&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000691077/article/colin-ka
    Theo Wargo via Getty Images
    Nas was inspired so much by Colin Kaepernick’s controversial protest that he decided to launch a line of Christmas sweaters in November in support of prison reform. In a statement to The Huffington Post the veteran rapper said: “Colin Kaepernick recently took this powerful stance, and like him, we love America – but also cannot ignore the injustices we have been seeing and how important our fight is against them.” Proceeds of Nas’ “Kneeling Santa” sweater will go to a non-profit called Center for Court Innovation, which “seeks to help create a more effective and humane justice system,” according to the organization’s website.
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