Michelle Obama, The Rock and More Celebs Call Out Systemic Racism Amid George Floyd Protests

“It’s up to all of us–Black, white, everyone–no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out,” former FLOTUS tweets

Last Updated: June 2, 2020 @ 12:30 PM

Michelle Obama, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Tyler Perry, Billie Eilish and Reese Witherspoon are among the celebrities who took to social media Saturday to call out systemic racism in the United States, as protests in response to George Floyd’s death continue across the country.

“Like so many of you, I’m pained by these recent tragedies,” the former FLOTUS tweeted Saturday. “And I’m exhausted by a heartbreak that never seems to stop. Right now it’s George, Breonna, and Ahmaud. Before that it was Eric, Sandra, and Michael. It just goes on, and on, and on.”

In a thread of tweets, she continued: “Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it. It’s up to all of us–Black, white, everyone–no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own. It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets. I pray we all have the strength for that journey, just as I pray for the souls and the families of those who were taken from us.”

Johnson, too, called for change following Floyd’s death, asking for the country’s leaders to “normalize equality.”

“Past few days I’ve been stunned trying make sense of George Floyd’s death,” Johnson said via a post he shared on both Twitter and Instagram. “The video. The plea for breath. The callous response. The racism. The killing. This is our ongoing disease. I’ve had cops in my family. Good men. And there’s a cop code, granting you the authority to use force if your life is in danger. But when a man is handcuffed, on the ground, no longer a threat, with your brothers in arms standing around watching and he struggles to say, ‘please I can’t breathe’ when your knee is on his neck.. not his back, but his neck – cutting off his air. Cop code must become moral code. Ethics code. HUMANITY code.”

He went on: “Knowing that if you don’t ease up, then that man is going to die. So when you decide to not ease up, your intention is to kill. And that’s what this was. George Floyd, said ‘officer I can’t breathe’ as he struggled for air. He said these words a total of 15 times. Not once. Not twice. 15 times. These officers will be charged, I’m positive of that. Held accountable. But then where’s the greater accountability? The leadership to healing. More importantly, the leadership to EQUALITY. We ultimately win when we can normalize equality. I’m so sorry to the Floyd family. My heart breaks for you. Let the process begin now. #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #NormalizeEquality.”

Tyler Perry took to Facebook to share a video of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ Friday press conference discussing the city’s protests. The prolific producer asked his fans to “stop the violence” and instead peacefully protest the deaths of Floyd and other black people who have died as the result of police brutality.

“I’m not in Atlanta, but if I were I would have been standing with our Mayor! But there was nothing I could say better than what Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said last night!” Perry wrote. “Please, please stop this violence!! Looting is NOT THE ANSWER!!!! And listen to me, be careful where you are getting your information to JOIN protests!! There are people and other countries who are posting things pretending to be US, pretending to stand for peaceful protest, but they are trying to incite us into violence and chaos to try and do more harm!! Do not fall for this foolishness!!! Please stop the violence!”

Witherspoon encouraged people to talk to their children about Floyd’s death and systemic racism.

“We have to be held accountable for what is happening in this country. What happened to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery – and countless others – can not go without justice,” the “Morning Show” star tweeted. “Please talk to your children about racism, privilege, bigotry and hate. If you aren’t talking to them, someone else is.”

Last night, Beyonce lent her voice to the call for “justice for George Floyd” and demand a stronger reaction from authorities and politicians to police brutality and racism.

Floyd, a black man, was arrested by Minneapolis police Monday after an employee at a convenience store called authorities to say he suspected Floyd of passing a counterfeit $20 bill.

During Floyd’s arrest, white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, an act that was caught on video by a bystander. In the clip, Floyd can be heard asking officers to let him breathe but is not shown to be resisting. Paramedics were called to the scene, where they found Floyd to be unresponsive. He was later pronounced dead.

Chauvin has since been fired by the Minneapolis police, arrested and charged with third-degree murder in connection to Floyd’s death. The three other officers who were involved in Floyd’s arrest have not been arrested or charged, though they were also fired.

See posts from Obama, Johnson, Perry, Witherspoon, Eilish and more celebrities below.

View this post on Instagram

#justiceforgeorgefloyd #blacklivesmatter

A post shared by BILLIE EILISH (@billieeilish) on

I’m not in Atlanta, but if I were I would have been standing with our Mayor! But there was nothing I could say better…

Posted by Tyler Perry on Saturday, May 30, 2020

Protests in response to Floyd’s death have broken out this week in Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta, among other cities across the United States.

On Friday, the Los Angeles Police Department declared the city’s protests an “unlawful assembly” after clashes between protestors and police. On Saturday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced that the state’s National Guard has been “fully” mobilized in response to the demonstrations, which he says have turned into “wanton destruction and chaos” and “made a mockery” of Floyd’s death.

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