Indie and rock artists show solidarity with Black Lives Matter protests

1 June 2020, 12:03

People hold placards as they join a spontaneous Black Lives Matter march at Trafalgar Square to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis , 31 May 2020.
People hold placards as they join a spontaneous Black Lives Matter march at Trafalgar Square to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis , 31 May 2020. Picture: Hollie Adams/Getty Images

Acts like Green Day, Vampire Weekend, Billie Eilish and Liam Gallagher have spoken out following the killing of George Floyd, as solidarity protests take place across the UK.

People gathered yesterday (31 May) in London and Manchester in solidarity with the US, who are protesting against police brutality.

There has been growing anger following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being arrested in Minneapolis on Monday (25 May).

Police were captured on video kneeling on the his neck for at least eight minutes, despite Floyd saying he couldn't breathe. The 46-year-old was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Derek Chauvin, a white police officer charged with murdering Floyd, is due to appear in court today (1 June). Three other officers were discharged following the incident and are being investigated.

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protest in downtown Charlotte in NC, United States on May 31, 2020
Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protest in downtown Charlotte in NC, United States on May 31, 2020. Picture: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

George Floyd's death has been quoted as just the latest example of police brutality against African American citizens.

Over the weekend, protests spread from Minneapolis to at least 30 cities across the United States.

In the UK, people gathered in London's Trafalgar Square abd Manchester's St Peter’s Square. More protests are planned for later this week. The Official George Floyd Memorial Fund, started by George's sister Philonise Floyd, has so far raised over $5 million.

Across both sides of the Altantic, musicians from the world of rock and indie have joined in solidarity with the protests.

Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello quoted activist Malcolm X: "That's not a chip on my shoulder. That's your foot on my neck" and encouraged people to compose songs and poems called "Avenge Floyd" and submit them to his US radio show.

Green Day posted "Demand justice + do your part" and suggested fans donate to the George Floyd Memorial Fund and the Minnesota Freedom Fund.

Garbage, which includes American musicians and British Shirley Manson among its members commented: "America is being destroyed and burned down. They would rather lose everything than give a black man justice!"

American star Billie Eilish took issue with some white commenters trying to hijack the "Black Lives Matter" slogan, posting: "If I hear one more white person say 'All Lives Matter' one more f**king time, I'm going to lose my f**king mind. You are privileged whether you like it or not. Society gives you privilege just for being white."

View this post on Instagram

#justiceforgeorgefloyd #blacklivesmatter

A post shared by BILLIE EILISH (@billieeilish) on

Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig posted on Instagram: " We need DA’s and politicians who will stand up against the whole system that brutalizes black people".

View this post on Instagram

Link in the bio for nationwide bail funds. Easy way to give money and have it automatically split up to bail organizations across the country. Giving money is a very important way to support change. So is protest. So is reforming the Democratic Party. We need DA’s and politicians who will stand up against the whole system that brutalizes black people. It’s infuriating to see so many “blue states” and “blue cities” fail to tackle these injustices. Please share any info about candidates at any level who are not just democrats but democrats who will hold racist cops accountable & abolish the whole prison industrial complex. We need to elevate and support these politicians. If you’ve never seen “13th” by @ava on Netflix, please watch. It’s an elucidating introduction to the ways in which both parties have been complicit in maintaining an unbroken system of violence and control since slavery.

A post shared by Ezra Koenig (@arze) on

Activists gathered chanting slogans at Trafalgar Square, 31 May 2020
Activists gathered chanting slogans at Trafalgar Square, 31 May 2020. Picture: avid Cliff/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In the UK, many music stars have come out in solidarity with the movement in the States.

The Prodigy quoted Desmond Tutu on their Instagram: "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."

Primal Scream encouraged fans to donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund.

Noel Gallagher's daughter Anais attacked stars for not using their platform to raise awareness: " am really saddened to see the people I know with platforms go about their life as if nothing’s happened. If you have a platform, you have the RESPONSIBILITY to educate. If you have a platform, you have the RESPONSIBILITY to demand change.

"If you don’t use your platform because you find it uncomfortable and want to keep “out of it” then that’s part of the problem. To be silent is to be complicit to be neutral is to be on the side of the oppressor. This is the time to get angry. If you’ve ever protested peacefully and have been heard well done, that’s a PRIVILEGE. Unfortunately, not everybody has the same opportunity."

Her uncle Liam Gallagher tweeted simply: "BLACK LIVES MATTER"

The phrase was repeated by Brighton duo Royal Blood.

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#blacklivesmatter

A post shared by Royal Blood (@royalblooduk) on

Essex band Nothing But Thieves posted a photo of civil rights protesters and added: "Keep the noise sustained and loud",

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