Speak Up, We’re Begging You: Beyonce and The #ENDSars Movement

Recently, we have been made aware of the police brutality taking place in Nigeria. The blatant disregard of human lives and corruption of the government has upset me, fellow Nigerians and others around the world. 

The police brutality reached a breaking point on October 21st, when protestors in Lekki were massacred by the police as the toll gates on a bridge were closed on protesters. Celebrities like Jon Boyega and Kanye West took to social media to raise awareness of the #EndSars movement and vocalize their support for the protestors weeks before and days after the Lekki massacre. 

However, many people were waiting for one celebrity to make a statement: Beyonce. Beyonce eventually made a statement through her charity and posted it on to her Instagram page but there were mixed feelings. Many people were supportive and happy that Beyonce used her platform to show her fans about the police brutality in Nigeria. They were also glad that her charity has a website of ways to donate to the cause. However, others were not thrilled by her response. 

As momentum around the EndSars movement increased, more and more people on social media protested her silence. I, too, was a little surprised she did not make a post as the EndSars movement picked up pace. After all, she used Nigerian culture and art in her “Black is King” album & film. Tiwa Savage, a popular Nigerian artist, expressed this in a 20 minute Instagram video before Beyonce's Instagram post. She begged,“You cannot ignore this. You cannot be quiet. Because we all celebrated the 'Black is King.' I personally was so proud to be part of that project but please you cannot be quiet on this”.

To shut down all the criticism Beyonce was receiving for not posting about the #EndSars movement, her publicist said that actions spoke louder than posts and that the judgement should stop. Beyonce’s mother also came in and shut down the hate her daughter was receiving. 

While I do think people have the right to do whatever they want to, I think that if you profited from using a certain culture and have a large following, you should make sure to keep up with issues going on in those areas and speak up. I would have expected her to speak up about the movement much earlier, considering she has ties to Nigeria.

Links to sources:

  1. https://www.vulture.com/2020/10/beyonce-nigeria-protests-instagram.html

  2. https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2020/10/21/end-sars-celebrities-address-police-brutality-nigeria-beyonce-rihanna/6003436002/

  3. https://www.hot97.com/hip-hop-news/hot-news/tiwa-savage-calls-on-beyonce-to-help-support-the-endsars-protest-in-nigeria/

  4. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-54643210