Like a handful of other celebrities, singer Halsey has joined the marching L.A. protesters fighting for justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. On Monday, the “You Should Be Sad” performer took to Instagram to not only share her experience, but to also call out the Los Angeles Police Department for deploying violent tactics on peaceful protesters. In a series of short clips, the army of police can be seen advancing and lobbing tear gas in the direction of the opposing crowd, sans provocation. The collection of slides also includes photos of the singer aiding injured participants.
“It’s become very clear to me that some of you need to see what I’ve seen,” Halsey began, urging followers to look through all the videos. She continued with a lengthy, heartfelt caption:
“These pictures and videos don’t even scratch the surface. It’s easy from the comfort of your home to watch looting and rioting on television and condone the violent measures being taken by forces. But what you don’t see is innocent peaceful protestors being shot at and tear gassed and physically assaulted relentlessly. You think it’s not happening, it’s only the ‘thugs’ and the ‘riots’, right? The police are keeping you safe right? You’re wrong. This is happening everywhere. And innocent people exercising their rights to speech and assembly are facing violence and abuse of power. With all of our medical professionals being CONSUMED and EXHAUSTED with Covid, there is little to no medical attention available. I have first hand treated men women and children who have been shot in the chest, the face, the back. Some will lose vision some have lost fingers. I have been covered in innocent blood. My father is a black man. My mother is an EMT. This week I had to put those two associations together in ways that have horrified me. This is NOT a virtue signaling post. But I HAVE to show you what I am witnessing with my own eyes. With Trump’s decision today to enforce the mobilization of armed forces on our own citizens, this has escalated beyond your privilege and comfort to not care. Please care. We are begging you to care. This is war on Americans. This is everyone’s problem. Everyone’s. #BLACKLIVESMATTER”
Other protesters on the ground, like John Cusack and Insecure’s Kendrick Sampson, have shared similar stories of police violently approaching peaceful protesters and bystanders, including those who were actively attempting to abide curfew. RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Adore Delano shared a harrowing video of a friend being forced to the ground at gunpoint while trying to peacefully leave the scene.
Today, artists are engaging in #BlackOutTuesday, a well-meaning online campaign geared towards interrupting normal social media patterns in order to raise awareness about state-sanctioned violence, including the behavior that Halsey and other artists have profiled over the past few days (though the execution has become way more muddied and harmful than intended). Other artists have engaged with the effort by asking for decreased funding for the police as well as urging fellow artists to donate to bail funds.
Looking for even more ways to advocate for Black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.