In Baton Rouge early Tuesday morning, a white police officer shot and killed Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man who was believed to have had a gun in his possession while selling CDs outside of a convenience store. The fatal gunshot came while Sterling was being arrested, his body pinned down to the ground, leading many to condemn the officer’s actions as police brutality — just one of far too many similarly tragic and racially-charged incidents that have rattled the country the last few years.
Protests have since begun across the Louisiana capital and beyond, including Philadelphia, and the Department of Justice has officially opened a civil rights investigation into the matter. Musicians and celebrities have also reacted to the shooting. Tonight, Drake posted a letter on his Instagram account reflecting on all that’s transpired in just the last 24 hours.
“I am grateful to be able to call America my second home,” the Toronto native wrote. “Last night when I saw the video of Alton Sterling being killed it left me feeling disheartened, emotional, and truly scared.”
He continued, “It’s impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago. No one begins their life as a hashtag, yet the trend of being reduced to one continues.”
Though the OVO Sound rapper was at a loss for words regarding a solution, he did offer a sliver of optimism. “…I believe things can change for the better. Open and honest dialogue is the first step.”
Read Drake’s full letter.
Others celebrities who’ve spoken up include actors Olivia Wilde and Amy Schumer, musicians Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Alessia Cara, Talib Kweli, and Chuck D, and renowned director Spike Lee. Find their reactions below.