Baltimore Protest Celebrities: Some Unwelcome

On Saturday, August 8, Baltimore residents gathered together to protest after a long battle with local police over the murder of Freddie Gray.

The community of Baltimore has been in disarray following the incident, and there were many celebrities that have been associated with the protests — and some have not been welcome.

Baltimore authorities were expecting protests on August 8 in Baltimore because it was the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, but the issues surrounding Freddie Gray’s murder has driven Baltimore to show solidarity with Ferguson.

Interestingly, there were several incidents where celebrities wanted to be associated with Baltimore protesters but were not necessarily being welcomed.

In two cases, celebrities joined the Baltimore protest from afar. For instance, actors from the Baltimore-based TV show The Wire did a performance based on what happened in the Freddie Gray case in solidarity with the protestors.

About The Wire performance, Mashable wrote on July 20, “[Freddie] Gray’s stepfather, Richard Shipley was also in attendance, according to the Sun. ‘The Gray family is so very proud of all the things shaking and moving in Baltimore… I see people working, kids going to school, camps opening. I see a lot of progress being made in a short period of time. It’s just a shame that a tragedy had to happen to get us up off our butts.'”

Musician and pop icon Prince also had a strong focus on the Baltimore incident with Freddie Gray and produced a song in support of the people of Baltimore.

NPR wrote about Prince’s Baltimore song on May 9, “This song personalizes its call for armistice with names we’ve all come to know, names that press upon our hearts. ‘Does anybody hear us pray for Michael Brown or Freddie Gray?’ Prince sings before offering a philosophical zinger: ‘Peace is more than the absence of a war.'”

Sadly, when Rihanna tried to join the Baltimore protesters, she was rejected. About the incident, Radio stated the following on July 28.

“[Rihanna’s] people reached out to the Baltimore PD in hopes of providing a free show for demonstrators and walking alongside protestors. A report dated May 1 from an officer to the Baltimore PD’s head of media relations indicates that, ‘Rihanna wants to walk with the protesters as well as perform a free concert.'”

Also unwelcome was the confusion that One Direction was possibly going to cause in Downtown Baltimore. Although the band was scheduled to be in Baltimore on August 8 for months, Twitter users made it appear that One Direction could not have come at a worse time.

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About the One Direction appearance, UnReality TV wrote on August 8, “One Twitter user warned, ‘Hope everyone is careful at the #OTRABaltimore today, there are supposed to be two large protests today, hope it doesn’t get ugly.'”

However, there was little evidence that One Direction was affected negatively by the Baltimore protest or vice versa. Instead, there were a few parents who were worried about the protest going on in Downtown Baltimore — but only because many One Direction fans are children or teens.

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Sadly, many of the protesters involved with the #BlackLivesMatter activists of Ferguson and Baltimore are gaining a negative celebrity status. In various reports, these #BlackLivesMatter activists claim to have been surveilled.

For example, one unfortunate #BlackLivesMatter celebrity told Mother Jones in an article published on August 7 that “[h]er participation in protests in Baltimore earlier this year prompted a cyber-security firm to identify her as a ‘threat actor’ in a report it provided to the city.”

[Feature image via Win McNamee/Getty Images]