Lorde expresses solidarity with Black Lives Matter movement amid mass protests: ‘This ongoing systemic brutality by police is racist’

Artist sent an email to fans in which she shared her views on the protests sparked after George Floyd's death, as well as her belief that white people have a responsibility to help tackle systematic racism

Roisin O'Connor@Roisin_OConnor
Monday 01 June 2020 09:36
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Lorde has sent a new email to her fans in which she expresses solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

“You probably weren’t expecting to hear from me for another few months, but I can’t ask for your attention one week and go silent on something like this the next,” the New Zealand musician explained.

The 23-year-old, who attended a peaceful protest in Aukland this week in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, said she found the “performative activism, predominantly by white celebrities (like me)” prevalent on social media “frustrating”.

Her statement follows the killing of George Floyd, who was heard saying he could not breathe as a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for nine minutes.

Chauvin is due in court today (1 June) and faces charges of third-degree murder, although there are calls from Floyd’s family’s lawyer for this to be upped to first-degree murder.

The other three police officers who were present at the time have been sacked. Floyd’s death has sparked protests across almost every major city in the US.

“It’s hard to strike a balance between self-serving social media displays and true action,” Lorde wrote. “But part of being an ally is knowing when to speak and when to listen, and I know that white silence right now is more damaging than someone’s wack protest selfie.

“So let me be clear: this ongoing systemic brutality by police is racist, it’s sickening, and it’s unsurprising.”

Lorde noted how her own art has been directly influenced by hip hop and black culture, and therefore felt additional responsibility to speak out.

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“I’m still learning the nuances of all this. I’m still working out how to practise activism while refraining from social media,” she said.

“Numbers at protests and mass gatherings speak loudly, hopefully lead to eventual legislative change, so I do that.”

Lorde added that she has also made financial contributions to causes such as bail funds for activists, but understood that her fans might not be in a position to do the same.

“To my black and brown listeners – I’m so sorry this is your reality, that you haven’t had a choice but to be defined by this, to give it your energy,” she added.

“I’m aware of that tax on you. I hope white people you know are doing what they can to ease your load. And I really, really hope systems will change to better protect you. Black Lives Matter.”

Lorde concluded her post by linking to a Change.org petition demanding justice for George Floyd. At the time of writing it was close to 10 million signatures.