Inspired by the nationwide protests against police brutality, movie star Samuel L. Jackson has issued a challenge to all of the celebrities who posted videos of themselves taking the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” to add their voices in protest. Jackson, who has starred in such movies as Snakes on a Plane, A Time to Kill, Pulp Fiction and the upcoming Nick Fury film, posted a video of himself singing “I Can’t Breathe,” a protest song which has gone viral in the past few days.
The song was written by Luke Nephew, who is a member of the Peace Poets, a Bronx collective whose members have written protest songs for various situations across the country. The four-line song had been sung in New York by people demonstrating against the decision to not indict the police officer who held Eric Garner in a chokehold despite him saying he couldn’t breathe, which was reported by the Inquisitr. Garner later died and the medical examiner had ruled his death a homicide. The song has quickly caught on and is being sung in demonstrations against police across the country.
The “Ice Bucket Challenge” became a summer phenomena and millions of people, including many celebrities, took videos of themselves dumping a bucket of ice water over their head and posted them online. The challenge was for others to also pour ice water over themselves or donate at least $5 for research to cure ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Most people did the challenge and donated to the cause, raising millions of dollars for the charity.
As The Denver Post reported, Jackson isn’t the only who has issued a challenge to sing the protest song. Gospel singer Darlene McCoy, who is also the founder of a group called Mothers of Black Sons, heard the song when watching news coverage of the New York protests in her Atlanta home. She recorded the song and posted it on Instagram, and then issued a challenge for other singers to do the same.
So far, 45 singers have responded to her challenge, including former X-Factor contestant Catrina Brooks. Her rendition of the Nephew song has been viewed more than 750,000.
As MSNBC reported, Jackson posted his challenge and video on his Facebook page on Saturday night after a day in which there were large demonstrations across the country protesting against the lack of indictments in both the Garner case and the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.
“All you celebrities out there who poured ice water on your head, here’s a chance to do something else. I challenge all of you to sing the ‘We ain’t gonna stop, till people are free’ song.”
[Image via theblacksphere.com;EFE/Javier Echezarreta]