John Legend, Sterling K. Brown, Kerry Washington & More Promote Racial Justice on 'Bear Witness, Take Action'
By Jennifer Drysdale
Stars like John Legend, Sterling K. Brown, Kerry Washington and more are using their voices to promote racial justice. YouTube Originals' Bear Witness, Take Action united and inspired viewers to promote change on Saturday. The special was the first project from YouTube's new $100 million content fund, dedicated to amplifying black voices on the platform.
Bear Witness, Take Action, hosted by Common and Keke Palmer, included powerful roundtable discussions and panels led by moderators like Jemele Hill, Roland S. Martin and Soledad O'Brien. Brown gave the opening message, honoring those who have died recently at the hands of police brutality.
"'I can't breathe.' George Floyd's dying words have rightfully shaken up America and forced those blinded to the senseless killing of African Americans by law enforcement to open their eyes to the horrors and injustice of institutional and systemic racism," Brown said. "What has been clear in the last few weeks is we are not going to watch silently."
"What does it mean to achieve racial justice? Social media has given power to this movement... it has allowed us to bear witness, it has emboldened and empowered us to take action," he added.
Washington, Carmelo Anthony, Skai Jackson and Wilmer Valderrama were just a few of the celebs who stressed the importance of heading to the polls, urging viewers to use their right to vote.
Trey Songz offered an inspiring performance of "How Many Times" during the program, while Legend closed it out with "Redemption Song."
Watch the special below.
Donations made throughout the program benefited the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization committed to social justice reform and providing legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons.
"I support the Black Lives Matter movement and I think it's imperative that we help amplify Black voices and continue the conversation about meaningful change and racial justice," Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Original Content for YouTube, said in a statement. "YouTube has a unique ability to unite creators, artists and powerful voices within the Black community to encourage the world to stand up and speak out for racial justice."
"The execution of George Floyd -- and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery -- has led to unprecedented protests for racial justice in every part of our nation -- and globally. And it started in part because 17 year-old Darnella Frazier defiantly and courageously recorded the video that has forced us all to confront what we were seeing and name it," explained Malika Saada Saar, a civil and human rights lawyer and Social Impact Human Rights Lead at YouTube. "Video can be a powerful human rights tool, for bearing witness to injustice and Bear Witness, Take Action will be part of that hope and urgent call for change."
See more on how celebs are using their platforms to promote racial equality in the video below.