Drake took to Instagram on Wednesday, July 6, to share a moving open letter following the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, shooting of Alton Sterling on Tuesday.
According to the Associated Press, authorities were responding to a 911 call when they shot Sterling, 37, who was selling homemade CDs and DVDs outside a store.
A video filmed by a community activist has since sparked massive outrage online. In the clip, one officer can be heard yelling, “Get on the ground! Get on the ground!” The camera cuts away just as gunshots are heard and the eyewitness can be heard shouting, “They shot him!”
The “Too Good” rapper, 29, penned an emotional note to his fans to express his disappointment in Sterling’s senseless death, which — according to The Washington Post — is the 122nd time a black person has been shot and killed by the police in 2016 alone.
“I am grateful to be able to call America my second home. Last night when I saw the video of Alton Sterling being killed, it left me feeling disheartened, emotional and truly scared. I woke up this morning with a strong need to say something,” the Canadian-born musician wrote. “It’s impossible to ignore that the relationship between Black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago. No one begins their life as a hashtag. Yet the trend of being reduced to one continues.”
“This is real and I’m concerned. Concerned for the safety of my family, my friends, and any human being that could fall victim to this pattern. I do not know the answer. But I believe things can change for the better. Open and honest dialogue is the first step,” Drake continued. “My thoughts and prayers are with the Sterling family and anyone that has lost someone to this cycle of violence.”
He concluded: “Be safe out there. More life.”
Other stars who have spoken out about the shooting of Sterling include Zendaya, Amy Schumer and Jesse Williams, among others.
Abdul Muflahi, the owner of the store where Sterling used to sell his CDs and DVDs, recounted the incident to WAFB TV on Wednesday. He said that the first officer used a stun gun on Sterling and the second officer tackled him to the ground. As Sterling attempted to escape the grip of the second officer, the first officer fired “four to six” shots, which killed him instantly.
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