Lizzo Breaks Down While Addressing Racism amid Protests: 'Open Your Mind, Open Your Heart'
"Black people are tired. We are so tired," the Grammy Award-winner said through tears
Lizzo is speaking out amid the killing of George Floyd and subsequent protest against racial injustice and police brutality that have erupted across the United States.
On Sunday, the Grammy Award-winning singer broke down in tears while speaking about the widespread unrest over Floyd's killing. The unarmed black man in Minneapolis died in police custody on May 25 after a white officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck.
Lizzo, who started her music career in Minneapolis, relayed heartbreaking messages she has received from members of the Minnesotan community about the violence that has broken out amid peaceful demonstrations.
"What they just told me is at this point all the violence, the majority of the violence that's happening in that city is coming from the KKK and the heavily militarized police," Lizzo said on her Instagram Live Sunday, according to Billboard. "There are people coming from the south, there are white supremacist terrorist groups coming from the south, patrolling the streets, shooting people."
She then urged her fans to follow people from Minneapolis, "Cause the real story is not being told fully."
"It's never black people, it's always white people using the term 'race war' ... We don't want that s—," she reportedly continued. "We want what we've always wanted from the beginning of being in this f—ing country, the same right that all these other people have. It's not this difficult."
"I've been trying to stay composed this entire time. I'm really working on it this entire time. Let me just gather myself," Lizzo said, trying to hold back tears. "It's not that hard to see. The people that don't see it don't want to see it. I don't have sympathy for people who don't see it anymore. Black people are tired. We are so tired."
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"I'm tired of putting myself in danger," she continued. "It's not danger from the protesters, [it's] danger from the police who don't value me. Danger of the white supremacist groups who are shooting at people, who are running people over with their cars. How do we not see where the issue is? Why is everyone being so — in the media — political? This isn't a political issue. The issue is in politics, but it's not a political issue. It's so much deeper than politics. It's in the veins of this country ... there is racism running through its veins."
The "Juice" singer then spoke out about her own experience as a black women in the U.S., recognizing the new responsibility she has with her platform.
"Nobody seems to care about the way that black women feel," she said. "I wasn't in this position a year ago, [with] this profile. This many people didn't know who I was a year ago. I remember every time these things happened ... I would look to these famous people and say, 'Where are your voices? Why aren't you speaking up for us?' I have to realize that responsibility as well. It would irresponsible of me to not reflect the times, irresponsible to not tell the truth."
Lizzo ended her emotional message on an uplifting note, expressing the hope she felt for future change.
"This is the most outrage I've seen as a country, and that is starting to give me the first semblance of hope I've had in a long time," she said. "I really do believe in the good of people, and maybe that makes me naïve, but I've seen Minneapolis rise up and do incredible things."
"I hope that everybody can just really see this s— for what it is," Lizzo said. "Open your mind, open your heart, listen, believe ... When you see that vandalism, when you see that senseless violence, know that that ain't us."
Earlier this week, Lizzo further touched on the demonstrations occurring across the nation, telling her fans that "Protest is not the end of progress, it is the beginning."
"Cities are burning, are you watching?" she wrote. "I stand with Minneapolis. I believe in us. Change is gonna come."
Demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality started last week in Minneapolis after footage of Floyd's death at the hands of a white police officer surfaced online. The protests have since spread to over 30 cities across the U.S.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired and arrested on third-degree murder charges. The three other officers involved with Floyd's death were also fired. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo told CNN he believes the three officers with Chauvin were "complicit" in Floyd's death.
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.