The country music star also bought out all the beer at AJ’s Beer Warehouse in upstate New York to send to the duo

By Claudia Harmata
June 08, 2020 11:35 AM
Advertisement

Brad Paisley is pouring one out with two best friends in upstate New York.

Over the weekend, interracial best friends Benjamin Smith, a white man, and Marcus Ellis, a black man, received a surprise virtual visit from the country music star, who was inspired by their friendship after it went viral online.

Amid the killing of George Floyd — an unarmed black man who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, and subsequent protests over racial injustice — Smith and Ellis wanted to share a message of peace with their community.

The duo posted up on their driveway in Rochester with a pack of beer and sign that read, "Black or white, relax and have a beer."

Brad Paisley
| Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty

According to News 8 WROC — a CBS affiliate in Rochester, New York — a photo of the pair quickly went viral online and eventually got Paisley's attention.

"It's insane,” Smith told reporter Dan Gross, who broke the story. "It's such a cool feeling that we’re making such a big impact across the community, and what seems to be across the U.S."

"It's awesome," Ellis added. "It feels so great."

The "She's Everything" crooner, 47, then bought out hundreds of dollars worth of beer at AJ’s Beer Warehouse and sent it to the duo before hopping on a virtual call with them on Saturday as they enjoyed some drinks with their friends and families.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories

"Man, I am so thrilled to meet you, face to face like this,” Paisley said, according to the outlet. “I’m so inspired by you, and we thought we should deliver more beer than you could possibly drink. This is going to be a popular destination on this street."

The artist then treated the friends to a performance of his fitting new song, "There’s No 'I' In Beer."

Throughout the last week Paisley has been active on social media in voicing his support for the peaceful protests, sharing photos and videos from demonstrations in Nashville.

Over the weekend, the "Remind Me" singer also shared a video explaining how he has been making active effort to educate himself about systemic racism and racial injustice.

"I have been trying to reach out to friends and learn and observe, and especially my friends in the black community," he began. "I've been talking to them about just how they’re feeling and what they want me to know."

"In that sense, it’s been fascinating, it's been something that I'm really glad I'm doing," Paisley said. "I'm glad I'm getting to hear perspectives that are usually sort of buried and not talked about."

Paisley then shared his phone number — 615-235-5921 — encouraging fans to reach out and tell them how they're doing and what they've learned as well.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
  • ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
  • National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.