Kanye West hasn't exactly been a pillar of the Black Lives Matter movement; he's repeatedly expressed support for President Donald Trump and for conservative activist Candace Owens, a prominent critic of BLM. He has also remained publicly silent in the wake of George Floyd's death, which has sparked protests across the country and impassioned calls to action from many celebrities. But West has finally put his money where his mouth isn't.
The rapper has donated $2 million to help support the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, a representative for West announced Thursday, including funding legal fees for Taylor and Arbery's families. West also set up a college fund to fully cover tuition for Floyd's 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, and will be contributing to black-owned businesses in his hometown of Chicago.
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Coincidentally, this announcement came on the same day that Forbes named recently minted billionaire West the highest-paid musician and second-highest-paid celebrity in the world, behind only his sister-in-law Kylie Jenner.
Arbery, who was killed by two white civilians in Georgia while jogging, and Taylor, who was shot in her Louisville home by police, were killed earlier this year, before Floyd's killing by a white Minneapolis police officer helped catalyze outrage around their deaths, and those of the many other black individuals killed by police, into a wave of protest. Derek Chauvin, the officer who pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, has been charged with second-degree murder. The three other officers who were on the scene, including two who restrained Floyd, were also arrested and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Meanwhile, Arbery's killers were charged with felony murder and aggravated assault in May, more than two months after Arbery's death. The FBI has opened an investigation into Taylor's death, and her family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. None of the officers involved have been charged with a crime.
To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
- Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
- Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.