Times have been sensitive due to the acts of racial injustice caused behind the badge of many men and women. We have become numb to hearing and seeing an unarmed Black man or woman being wrongfully mistreated by law enforcement. George Floyd’s death in May, shook the nation and had people in an uproar. Once that 8.49 video was uploaded to social media it was reposted and reshared by millions making it hard to ignore. The agony you heard as he cried out for his mother struck a nerve of discomfort in viewers everywhere.
In response, many people all over the world responded through protesting and not only by marching the streets but in their everyday lifestyle. People have protested through fashion with shirts that read Black Lives Matter and masks that read the names of many Black men whose lives have been taken by law enforcement. Now although protest music is not new, it has been redefined in todays’ generation with artist such as Lil Baby, Teyana Taylor, Nipsey Hussle, Childish Gambino and more. These artists have used their platform to bring awareness to what is transpiring through our world today and they stand with us until change comes.
Along with fashion, and music, social media has been the main platform bringing attention to the injustices taking place in our world. The use of a camera phone has never been so useful as it is now. The is an effect that comes over you when you, along with millions are visually being able to see something so horrific as if you were there yourself. and posting for millions of people to share in that specific moment as if they were all there too.
Protest in Fashion
Protest in fashion stems from headwear, accessories and t-shirts that implement social and political change expressing support. Many celebrities have been seen showing support in protest fashion. Professional tennis player Naomi Osaka wore a mask with the names of several black men whose lives were taken by law enforcement.
Lebron James along with many other professional basketball players have worn “I Can’t Breathe” and "Black Lives Matter" t-shirts during their games in support of the George Floyd protests. Designer and Entrepreneur, Draya Michelle was recently spotted wearing a shirt that said, “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor”, in support of the Breonna Taylor incident. What protest fashion does is protesting without marching the streets with signs and blow horns. It directs attention to the letters on your mask or t-shirt creating conversation for those amongst you.
Protest in Music
Protest music is not new to our era, it goes back as far as the 60s, to the late 90s of Tupac Shakur’s song Changes, to now of Lil Baby’s song The Bigger Picture. All songs tackle the main problem of police brutality brought upon African Americans, predominately Black males. The catchy melodies and lyrics go far beyond just being a good song but a song with meaning and purpose with hopes that someday change will come. These artists have used their platform and their talents to draw attention to what is going on right now.
“It’s bigger than black and white
It’s a problem with the whole way of life
Can’t change overnight
But we gotta start somewhere, might as well gon’ head start here
We done had a hell of a year I'ma make it count while I'm here God is the only man I fear”
- The Bigger Picture by Lil Baby
This is America (skrrt, skrrt, woo) Don't catch you slippin' now (ayy) Look at how I'm livin' now Police be trippin' now (woo)
- This is America by Childish Gambino
Started a war screaming "Peace" at the same time All the corruption, injustice, the same crimes Always a problem if we do or don't fight And we die, we don't have the same rights
- I Can’t Breathe by H.E.R.
Protest on Social Media
The camera phone has exposed us to endless amounts of videos all over social media. Without social media we wouldn’t have seen a lot of the raw footage of how law enforcement abuse their power on unarmed Black men. The use of “hashtagging” on social media has drawn attention to hashtags such as #blacklivesmatter, #nojusticenopeace and #blackouttuesday. June 2nd, instagramers gathered together to post a blank black post to draw attention away from anything else that may have been happening on people’s timeline and bring their focus to the injustices taking place in our country. With the numerous hashtags and reposts due to these circumstances, social media has made it hard for you to ignore the issues going on.