Police Abuse

Beyonce and Jay Z Take Musical Stands on Police Shootings

The superstar couple make separate musical statements in the wake of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile's deaths.


Bey and Jay

Beyonce and Jay Z, the married couple who are each musical superstars in their own right, made separate musical statements yesterday in response to the killings of Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge (La.) police and Philando Castile by St. Anthony (Minn.) police.

In the form of an open letter on her website titled "Freedom," Beyonce wrote in part:

We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities. 

It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they "Stop killing us". 

We don't need sympathy. 

We need everyone to respect our lives. 

We're going to stand up as a community and fight against anyone who believes that murder or any violent action by those who are sworn to protect us should consistently go unpunished.

She also added links to the bottom of the same page, directing her fans to contact their congressperson.

Later in the day, Beyonce asked for a moment of silence at a concert in Glasgow, Scotland to honor victims of police violence, hundreds of whose names were projected on a video screen behind her as she sang an a capella rendition of her song "Freedom." An uncomprehensive look through the names shows that the list includes completely innocent people killed by police (Amadou Diallo, Akai Gurley), people who died in police custody after being arrested for questionable reasons (Sandra Bland), but also at least one person who died after shooting at police during a hostage situation (Emmanuel Wooten) and who may have intended to commit "suicide by cop."

For his part, Jay Z released a new song called "Spiritual" on his Tidal streaming music site, which includes the lyrics:

Yeah, I am not poison, no I am not poison
Just a boy from the hood that
Got my hands in the air
In despair don't shoot
I just wanna do good, ah

The rapper wrote in a note on his website that "Spiritual" is a song he recorded a year ago and never finished, but lamented "this issue will always be relevant." Later in the note, he added, "Blessings to all the families that have lost loved ones to police brutality."

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  1. Rap is so intelligent. What an art it is.

    1. They’re just so well spoken. And they speak well, too.

      1. Did you just call them “articulate”?


        1. “Jibbitty- jibbity and a rat-a-tat-tat.” – Jessie Jackson

          Is that racist if he actually said that?

    2. I don’t know. All the political ranting about the need for Chinese immigrants to GTFO doesn’t seem very intellectual to me. Seems like there’s a more coherent case to be made in immigration policy other than “Stop stealing Mongolian jobs, this is OUR country!!”

      Yeah, I only really listen to Mongolian rap.

      1. Then again, the Mongolian rapper Gee’s comment that “Too many people these days are turning to crime or pursuing political careers, instead of getting an honest job and contributing to society” IS pretty damn insightful, regardless of the country you come from.

        1. insightful would be the next line where he says “but I repeat myself”.

      2. If they want to protect their jobs they ought to build a wall or something.

      3. I dunno, Altaic throat-singing really lends itself more to the metal idiom.

  2. They’re going to need to get something out on social media about Dallas, too, if they want-

    WAIT A MINUTE. Why the fuck- How did you get me roped into commenting about Beyonce and Jay Z?

  3. Micah Xavier Johnson was the lone sniper.


    And they blew him up with a bomb-robot.

    1. I really want it to be a remote control car with a stick of dynamite on it.

      1. +1 Acme Co.

      2. +1 The Dead Pool

        1. this

    2. Interesting, I wonder what time limit is on negotiations before they decide “fuck it, blow him up”?

      1. a few hours, then he started shooting again.

    3. And they blew him up with a bomb-robot.

      Great, now the minimum wage is replacing jihadist jobs with automation too!

      1. “Achmed, I just learned that remote control vehicles can carry suicide bombs. How long have you known about this?!”

  4. I cannot imagine anything more inconsequential than what these two think about, well, anything.

    1. How about an internet comment about how inconsequential the opinions of two musicians are?

      1. Or, an internet comment about how inconsequential an internet comment about how inconsequential the opinions of two musicians are?

        1. This could go on for some time.

          1. It’s inconsequential commentary all the way down.

            1. Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

          2. Nah, if it proceeds further than 2 or 3 additional posts Hugh will just slay a strawman or call someone a racist and be done with it.

      2. How about an Internet comment on an Internet comment about how inconsequential the opinions of two musicians are?

        1. This is beyond meta.


          1. Any further beyond meta and it’s gonna crawl up its own ass and disappear.

            1. At least some racist didn’t post a “black lives meta” joke.

              1. But I’m not a racist, in fact, I never meta man I didn’t like.

                1. There, you’ve done it.


      1. HODOR!!

  5. Welp, I guess that solves everything then. Let’s close up shop and go home, boys.

    1. I’m holding out for a rapper-version of “We Are The World”

  6. Can we get Lou Reed’s opinion next?

    (Is this joke over?)

    1. And then Prince’s.

  7. more than 60 people shot over the holiday weekend in Chicago, none by cops or white folks in general. When does Beyonce notice that? Or when do her mouthpieces notices it for her and point it out so she does not sound quite so stupid?

    WaPo has a database on killed-by-cop cases. Whites twice as likely to be the victims, and unarmed blacks a small percentage. None of this is good but a little context is helpful. What happened this week with those two men is an atrocity and should be treated as such. Gunning down the king’s men, however, is not the sharpest tactic.

    1. WaPo has a partial database on killed-by-cop cases.

      For some reason, the State is uninterested in collecting comprehensive data on this.

      Whites twice as likely to be the victims,

      Which still makes blacks at @ 4x greater risk.

      unarmed blacks a small percentage.

      I would want to know what value of “unarmed” is being used.

      None of this is good but a little context is helpful.

      I agree completely. Which is why I added some context. The rest of your post I also agree with completely, no additional context needed.

      1. Which still makes blacks at @ 4x greater risk.

        and I’m not saying otherwise. Just pointing out blacks are not the sole target, yet the narrative would have you believe that’s the case.

        The irony is that the two shootings this week challenged even the most strident copsucker’s ability to defend law enforcement and then came last night in Dallas. One step forward, a half-mile back. Not sharp.

      2. Which still makes blacks at @ 4x greater risk.

        Simple solution: shoot more white people. Problem solved. /Angela Davis

    2. It’s pretty hypocritical for libertarians to play the “why don’t you care about non-government actors doing X!” game. There’s a reason why government officials face more scrutiny and attention, and libertarians and conservatives have no problem applying that reasoning when it suits them.

      Also, it’s kinda important to point out that white people being double among those killed by police doesn’t mean a white person is more likely to be killed. There are about 5x as many white people as black people in the US.

      1. it’s kinda important to point out that white people being double among those killed by police doesn’t mean a white person is more likely to be killed. There are about 5x as many white people as black people in the US.

        Its also kinda important to point out that blacks commit 69% of all violent crime in America, and half (52%) the homicides

        If you start trying to make stupid headline claims with statistics, don’t cry foul when people throw them right back in your face.

        Its first misleading, and then mendacious to claim that blacks are shot “disproportionately” by police merely by the “proportion of the population they represent”, and then argue that the proportion of “criminality” they represent is irrelevant.

        (and this is the S.O.P. in the news media, fwiw)

        I’ve seen these arguments made in 1000 different ways, and the only conclusion the data REALLY provides is that “Cops shoot unarmed people way too frequently”.

        If you try and make it into a racial thing, you’re walking into a debate where you’re not allowed to dictate “which data is relevant and which is not”.

        Its a stupid approach to the issue anyway, since regardless of “proportionality”, white people have just as much of an interest in reducing the rate of police use-of-force as anyone else. Trying to make it into an exclusively ‘black thing’ and say white people have nothing to worry about is counter-productive.

        1. edit =

          and the only conclusion the data REALLY provides is that “Cops shoot unarmed (or peacefully-armed) people way too frequently”.

          in particular, i’m thinking of the 100s of no-knock raids which Balko covered.

          I think it would behoove writers covering the “cops shooting blacks innocent people” angle to go back and read ALL of Radley’s past coverage, to realize that as far back as 10 years ago, this was a daily conversation topic @ Reason magazine, and that many readers have been intimately familiar with the “excessive use of force by police” issue for a very long time.

          its a little patronizing to pretend that this issue really only started to be significant when BLM came along and made it into a racial-crusade. If anything the opposite occurred = the argument that police misconduct was a widespread problem that affected everyone has been largely sidelined, and replaced with a bunch of victim-mongering about “racial injustice”, which removes the focus that had previously existed on ‘the militarized psychology of police’

      2. Also, it’s kinda important to point out that white people being double among those killed by police doesn’t mean a white person is more likely to be killed.

        I think you’re confusing “important” with “true”. Unless there were a situation where police were only killing black people (or people from whatever specific demographic) the relative proportion of subsets of victims broken down along whatever lines does nothing to address the larger issue, which is an insular, militarized police culture that fights against efforts towards transparency and accountability and which actively protects and expands the special legal status of its members.

        IOW, focusing on the color of victims of police brutality is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Worse, it distracts from the real issue.

      3. There are about 5x as many white people as black people in the US.

        Which is why it’s so damning to your argument because despite their higher total numbers, blacks manage to committ a proportion of violent crime far far outside of what would be proportional to their population. In my first search of one of the names on that wall, it pulled up a news story of 4 blacks participating in an armed home invasion and exchanging gun fire with the police that showed up.

        Forgive me for not crying to the heavens that this vital member of society was gunned down in the prime of his criminal career before he managed to take and ruin lives, assuming he hadn’t already.

    3. Being armed is a right, so we need a different term to suggest unlawful misuse of weaponry.

  8. Beyonc? and Jay Z are involved now? Shit just got real, yo.

  9. Beyonce and Jay Z Take Musical Stands on Police Shootings

    Behold the field where I harvest my fucks to give, and see that it is barren.

    1. And, yea, verily the people saw that they were forsaken. Tupac wept.

      1. “By the Ghost of Biggie Smalls, I care not either!”

    2. The entire restaurant here is now wondering why I snorted very loudly. Thank you.

  10. So brave!

    1. “Ladies and gentlemen, Beyonce has called upon the better angels of our nature. She has challenged us to eschew the easy path and, instead, do righteous battle with our lesser selves. She has sounded a moral clarion call, and we, ladies and gentlemen, must respond with nothing less than the whole of our beings.”

      /no police union rep ever

  11. One of those names on the wall, A’Donte Washington, the first one that I googled came up with this result

    According to information provided by Johnson in a news release, the incident began shortly before noon on Monday as police officers responded to Clearview Lane on a burglary call. Upon arrival, officers located a suspicious vehicle in the driveway of the residence occupied by a single male. After not being able to say who lived at the residence, officers detained the suspect in the driveway.

    After officers surrounded the house, an officer confronted an individual at the front door. When the suspect retreated, shots were fired at the officer followed by four suspects fleeing the residence, the news release states.

    Upon fleeing, shots were fired at the officer and the officer returned fire. A’Donte Washington fled the residence while brandishing a handgun, exiting a fence toward the front of the residence. He ran into the officer who fired his duty weapon, striking the suspect at least twice, the news release states.

    I wonder how many more of these martyrs aren’t actually martyrs.

    1. Alton Sterling turns out to be a violent felon with a lengthy rap sheet, carrying an illegal gun, who then got into a physical fight with police. Another poor candidate for martyrdom.

      1. That seems to be a reoccurring theme for these black power grievance mongers. There’s no shortage of actual victims of police brutality but since their sole criterion for police brutality is the race of the “victim”, they have a hard time distinguishing between legitimate cases of injustice and career criminals dying by the same sword they live by.

        1. I’ve read a more cynical explanation. Intentionally picking thugs as martyrs is a sort of psychological power play. They don’t just want you to be sorry for a harmless victim, they want you to be intimidated.

        2. That may be why the NRA was rather slow on discussing Castile. I imagine the thought process was: “So, a fully legit CCW holder gets wasted by a panicky cop? This is exactly what we’re against! Oh, wait, better check for a rap sheet first. Please don’t be a thug, Please don’t be a thug, PLEASE don’t be a thug…”

          ‘Cause you know, if Castile had turned out to have a sheet, the media would have pounced on “NRA supports violent criminals getting concealed weaponz! More laws needed!!! Ban CCW!!!!”

          When your opponents own the media battlespace, you have to choose your fights.

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