Celebrities, Artists React to the Zimmerman Verdict
Anger, shock, disappointment – these are just a few of the expressions echoed by celebrities and musical artists after the verdict was read in the George Zimmerman trial
After the verdict was read in what may be the Trial of the Century, there was silence. And then the protests began. Mostly peaceful, but there were plenty marches to count. Across the entire country, impromptu demonstrations were staged beginning on Sunday in San Francisco, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami and even Sanford, Florida, where Trayvon Martin was killed – were overwhelmingly peaceful.
On Monday, hundreds gathered at the site of Kelly Ingram Park, adjacent to the historic 16th Street Baptist church in Birmingham, Ala., and marched towards the Hugo Black Courthouse blocks away. Birmingham, Ala. is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of the American Civil Rights movement, which included history book milestones such as the 1963 16th Street bombing and Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.
Many celebrities and recording artists were quite vocal about their upset over the verdict. Many turned to Twitter to voice their outrage. And despite the tensions of the case being so embedded in politics and race, the responses of shock coming from celebs seemed to reverberate across all aisles of race.
UK singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding (“Lights”) tweeted, “Going to bed with a sober head full of confusion.”
Miley Cyrus, enjoying her success with the Top 20 hit “We Can’t Stop,” tweeted twice: “No justice. No peace” and “The world is a scary place.”
Jennifer Hudson, who lost her mother to gun violence, tweeted, “I can’t help but think of what my mama use to say ” If u think u seen it all just keep on living.”
Funnygirl and The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg, a newbie to the Twitterverse, typed, “My heart is with trayvon martins family tonight, so my focus on them. No one else really matters.”
Actor and Hollywood hottie Mario Lopez tweeted, “Hope people don’t misbehave after hearing this verdict… Pray for the Martin family.”
Rapper and former American Idol judge Nicki Minaj expressed her anger with a fiery tweet: “And our taxes paid for that trial. We just paid to see a murderer walk free after killing an innocent unarmed little boy. #GodBlessAmerica.”
Meanwhile, R&B singer Chris Brown simply typed, “Bullshit.”
Some stars were unsuprirsed for the verdict, citing that mass media may have ruined the chances of a healthy verdict.
Rapper Lupe Fiasco wrote: “The case should have never been televised as the potential to antagonize US race relations was, in my dumb, opinion too risky & unnecessary.”
Multi-millionaire businessman Donald Trump, stated that “Zimmerman is no angel but the lack of evidence and the concept of self-defense, especially in Florida law, gave the jury little other choice.”
Stand up comedian Michael Ian Black decided to inject a little comedy into the stew: “The only thing that surprised me about the verdict is that juries work on Saturdays.”
Others turned to their familiar soapbox of the live stage. In Nashville, Beyoncé asked the audience for a brief moment of silence for Trayvon, minutes after the verdict was announced. She then awarded the slain teen with an intimate chorus of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” before jumping into her 2009 hit, “Halo.”
Early Sunday morning, Young Jeezy uploaded a new track – “It’s a Cold World (A Tribute to Trayvon Martin)” – on Soundcloud, accompanied with a heartfelt message on his Facebook fan page. “I would like to offer strength to you and the family through this entire ordeal,” he wrote. “I pray that justice is served and the memory of Trayvon is carried through you and through all of us. It’s in GOD’s Hands.”
Actor Lance Gross, best known for his appearance in Tyler Perry’s sitcoms, put his iPhone Notes app to work when he penned an open letter to George Zimmerman, which read that “for the rest of your life you are now going to feel what its like to be a black man in America.”
And Gross wasn’t the only one in action in writing their thoughts out.
No Love for Florida
Looks like the “writing’s on the wall” for Stevie Wonder when it comes to taking trips to Florida.
The 22-time Grammy-winning Motown legend is pledging to not step in the state of Florida to perform until the state abolishes its controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. During a concert in Quebec City on July 14, Wonder put his foot on the ground regarding Florida and also vowed not to return to states with similar laws. Currently, there are dozens of states that have similar laws on the books, including Alabama, Alaska, California, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio – which are governed by Castle Doctrine statutes. Other states, like Iowa, Virginia and Washington, are considering adopting similar laws such as the “Stand Your Ground” laws.
You might as well consider Wonder’s touring in the US totally scalped since dozens of state have laws on the books similar to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. For instance, Georgia had a “Stand Your Ground” law that’s been in place for a century. Furthermore, more than half the states in the United States hold the Castle Doctrine and other laws that are similar to “Stand your Ground” laws.
This summer, Wonder was the headliner during the Sunday lineup at the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Ala. Since making his public announcement, there has been no word on future concert cancellations.
R&B Hippie Neosoul Rockstar Pulls the Trigga
Urban R&B singer Raheem DeVaughn, known for dipping in political hot topics and politics on record (see The Love/War MasterPeace), is jumping into the conversation via music. With rapper Styles P on his side, DeVaughn constructs “Trigga Man.” It opens with President Barack Obama’s 2012 statement regarding the tragedy of Martin’s loss, where he mentioned that “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon Martin.” Devaughn pours out some brutal descriptions of Zimmerman, calling him an “assassinator,” a “murdering coward” and a “dream killer.”
“I’m supposed to be in the year book/I’m supposed to be king at the prom/Maybe even get a full ride for an education/What a price to pay for a walk to the store/Left for dead like an animal, you’re a coward and a criminal,” DeVaughn proclaims as if he’s Martin’s voice from the grave. Styles P lets loose his rap, saying, “They gon’ treat you different if you ain’t got the same skin/And that element is wack and the sad shit about it is the President is black.”
The original song is available in streaming form on Soundcloud and has already racked up over 13,000 listens in the thirteen hours it has been posted.
Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder for fatally shooting 16-year old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. Following the verdict, the Department of Justice released a statement on Sunday detailing that they’re continuing to evaluate whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges against the neighborhood watchman. Despite numerous calls from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and dozens of petitions – including one from the NAACP and one at MoveOn.org both addressing the DOJ, there is no word if any charges from the federal government will be filed.