Police brutality has sparked national outrage, prompting celebrities such as Beyoncé, DL Hughley, Janelle Monáe, Jesse Williams, and “One Dance” rapper Drake to speak out. According to CNN, Drake posted a poignant open letter Wednesday to his 25 million followers on Instagram, expressing his concerns after watching the viral video of Alton Sterling’s shooting death.
In Drake’s open letter, he wrote, “I am grateful to be able to call America my second home. Last night when I saw the video of Alton Sterling being killed, it left me feeling disheartened, emotional, and truly scared. I woke up this morning with a strong need to say something.”
“It’s impossible to ignore the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago,” Drakes open letter continued. “Yet the trend of being reduced to one continues.”
“This is real and I am concerned, concerned for the safety of my family, my friends, and any human being that could fall victim to this pattern. I do not know the answer. But I believe things can change for the better. Open and honest dialogue is the first step.”
Drake went on to say that “his thoughts and prayers are with the Sterling family and the family that has lost someone to this cycle of violence.”
Just shortly after Drake posted an open letter on Instagram, “Feeling Myself” rapper Nicki Minaj, who is subject to the Black Lives Matter hashtag, posted the names of the victims who lost their lives due to police brutality, adding “no conviction” next to their names.
— Jobina Fortson (@JobinaFortson) July 8, 2016
She also wrote, “Will there be a conviction now? Probably not. Rest in Peace Alton Sterling. Hug the people you love a little tighter. Tell them you love them a little more often.”
Alton Sterling, 37, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile, 32, of Falcon Heights, Minnesota, were the latest victims of police brutality that were captured on camera – both dying less than 24 hours of each other from multiple gunshot wounds.
Trying to stay positive after today’s horrific news. This is outrageous.https://t.co/2EwUwl7ofI
— Fergie (@Fergie) July 8, 2016
According to ABC Online, Sterling, a black man, was standing outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge when two white officers arrived at the scene, responding to a call about a man with a gun. It was not immediately clear what was said when the officers approached Sterling, but not long after their arrival he was tackled to the ground.
While being restrained on the ground by two Baton Rouge officers, Alton Sterling was shot by police multiple times at close range in the chest and back. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Both Baton Rouge officers accused of shooting Alton Sterling were placed on administrative leave.
Less than 24 hours later, another black man, Castile, was shot multiple times by Minnesota police while sitting in his vehicle during a traffic stop. Documents say that the victim was pulled over with his girlfriend and 3-year-old daughter in the vehicle for a broken tail light.
When the Minnesota officer asked Castile for his license and registration, he reached into his back pocket to retrieve his wallet. That’s when the officer reportedly shot Philando Castile four times, believing that he was reaching for a gun.
The shooting victim’s girlfriend said, “He let the officer know that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm.”
Philando Castile was later rushed to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Castile’s uncle, Clarence Castile, stated that watching his nephew slumped over in his vehicle, dying after being shot by police, was the “most horrific thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“We hear about things like this happening all the time around the United States and the world, people being harmed and abused by people who we’re supposed to trust with our lives, people who are supposed to serve and protect us. And they tend to be our executioners and judges and murderers.”
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) July 8, 2016
Not only were the friends, family, and the community of the police shooting victims heartbroken over the incident, but celebrities were also stunned after learning about the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Rapper Drake was one of the many celebrities to post an open letter on Instagram to express their concerns.
[Image via Getty Images / Justin Sullivan]