Earlier this week, Rock, who has encouraged fans to donate and use their privilege to signal boost voices of people of colour and share the message, took to his Instagram Story to put the social media influencers who are remaining silent during this time on blast.
“Some people have just been too quiet lately and not using your voice,” Rock told fans in a series of Instagram Stories recorded and shared on the Beauty Guru Chatter subreddit. “Yes, retweeting things is cute and all but that is not using your voice.”
“That is not using your influence, it’s not. People need to hear your voice to really know.”
The former Vine comedian turned Da Baddest makeup YouTuber also criticised fellow social media influencers who were afraid of advocating about Black Lives Matter, the unjust death of George Floyd and racial discrimination and profiling of African-American people, in fear of “losing brand deals.”
“The excuses that I have been seeing [are]… lame,” he said. “Like, you don’t want to talk about Black Lives Matter because you’re afraid of losing brand deals? You’re worried about f**king money, b**ch? Right now? W-What…”
“I don’t even know any brand that would pull the plug on brand deals if you talk about things like this. I’m not here to talk about that. I really do not want this to be fed with anger, I just want to speak to the heart but people aren’t talking about it for their own self-benefits. That is not an influencer to me, I’m so sorry but… I can’t even talk about anything else.”
What does it mean if someone remains silent?
In a video explaining the importance of being an ally to black Americans and using your white privilege during this period of needed change, writer Chrissy Rutherford said that “seeing people are silent yet posting their banal s**t like it’s any other day [on social media]… to me it says that you don’t care.”
“I can’t see it any other way. If you’re not black and not sharing what’s going on, to me you’re sending a message that you agree with what’s going on.”
“I don’t care if you have two million followers or two hundred followers, it’s important to make your point of view known. Otherwise, they might think you actually agree with what’s going on.”
Why are people protesting?
On the 26th of May, 46-year-old African-American man George Floyd was arrested for allegedly possessing a counterfeit $20 note. Floyd, who did not resist arrest, was pressed against the ground by Officer Derek Chauvin, who then pressed his knee against his neck for more than eight minutes, cutting off Floyd's oxygen. During these eight minutes, Floyd told the officer “I can’t breathe,” “I’m going to die.” He passed out and died later at hospital.
The protests—which, as of writing, are in their sixth consecutive day —began to demand justice for Floyd’s death and the persecution of Chauvin and the other officers at the scene, but speak to a larger issue about the historic systemic racism within the U.S. legal and judiciary system. In the same month, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Emergency Medical Technician was murdered in her own home after police fired 20 rounds into her house. Ahmaud Arbery was shot dead by two white men while he was on an afternoon jog.
Some—a small group of protests—used the chaos to loot businesses, which resulted in U.S. President Donald Trump threatening that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” deploying the National Guard to 12 states, including Washington, DC. Since then, what was a series of peaceful protests about police brutality and racial injustice has turned into an ugly civil warfare with reports of further police brutality, attacks on the press and unfair incarceration and arrest of more PoC protestors all by the hands of police and armed forces. Trump has since classified the protests as orchestrated by ANTIFA—a left-wing anti-fascist movement—and considered them a “terrorist organisation”—despite ANTIFA being a social movement instead of, y’know, an organisation.
If you would like to help the Black Lives Matter movement and people protesting against wrongful deaths of black people in America right now, you can donate to bail funds across America (including in Minnesota, Louisville, Denver and Columbus), educate others and promote black voices, and sign the Justice For Floyd petition, which, as of writing, has 9.5 million signatures. It is also strongly advised that you do not share photos or videos on social media that can be triggering or harmful, and refrain from sharing anything that shows any protestors' faces. Doing so runs the risk of identifying and endangering them.