Macklemore’s Two Cents in the Wake of Deaths of Sterling and Castile

In recent months, Macklemore’s lyrics have shifted from lighthearted thrift shop couture to hard-hitting activism. With this being said, it’s no surprised that Macklemore jumped right on the opportunity to offer his condolences as well as his two cents in the wake of the devastating deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Story | Madison Lippincott

Photo | @michelleoverton

“The footage of Alton Sterling being murdered by a police officer is equal parts horrific, infuriating and devastating. How many times can we watch a family at a press conference in hysterics over the killing of their loved one?” Macklemore asked in his Instagram caption. “Alton Sterling didn’t create this problem. This is hundreds of years of conditioning.”

Less than 24 hours after footage of Alton Sterling’s murder was released online, Macklemore took to Instagram to express his frustrations regarding what he describes as “systematic oppression that enables murder like this”.

How many more murders of black people by police before we hold our system and those that enforce it accountable? The footage of Alton Sterling being murdered by a police officer is equal parts horrific, infuriating and devastating. How many times can we watch a family at a press conference in hysterics over the killing of their loved one? Murdered by those that have been assigned to protect us. What do we do in times like these? It’s a question for everyone, but specifically white people. The systematic oppression that enables a murder like this, will be corrected once white people care enough to change it. Alton Sterling didn’t create this problem. This is hundreds of years of conditioning. We have been told our entire lives that people that look like Alton Sterling, selling CD’s outside of a store, are a threat to our society. The news, TV, movies, jails, history books, schools and our laws all uphold this false belief. A person isn’t born fearing someone because of the color of their skin. This fear is taught, crafted and instilled in the fabric of our American lives. And although we make strides and progress is measurable at times, I can’t help but think….If I was put in the exact same situation that Alton was in, I would be alive today…Because of the color of my skin. And he’s dead because of his. I often don’t know what to do during these moments. It becomes easier to vent on social media than to take direct action. Here’s a couple things I’ve gotten hip to in the last 2 years. 1: Financially support black led organizations. Put your resources behind people of color that are at the forefront of the movement 2: Do a People’s Institute “Undoing racism” training. One of the most eye opening and important tools to understanding our past in relation to the work that needs to be done. The website is http://www.pisab.org 3: Have conversations about race. In real life. With people that look like you and people that don’t. RIP #altonsterling

A photo posted by Ben Haggerty (@macklemore) on

Alton Sterling was fatally shot by Baton Rouge police outside of a convenience store around 12:30 am on Tuesday morning. Police responded to the scene after receiving an anonymous tip that a man selling CDs outside of the convenience store, which we now know was Alton Sterling, had a gun. Though he was immobile and pinned to the ground by law enforcement, shots were fired and Alton was declared dead shortly after.

Not more than 48 hours later, Philando Castile was fatally shot during what seemed to be a routine traffic stop. However, the scene turned hostile after Castile disclosed to the police officer that he had a gun. Shots were then fired and Castile died shortly after arriving at the hospital. The aftermath of the horrific scene was live streamed by Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds. Snippets of this live stream can be found on Macklemore’s Instagram. Watch at your own risk; the footage can be disturbing to some audiences.

Part 1: RIP #PhilandoCastile.

A video posted by Ben Haggerty (@macklemore) on

Macklemore makes several good points in his Instagram caption as well as his initiative to share these wildly troubling videos for others to see in order to spread the word.

“A person isn’t born fearing someone because of the color of their skin. This fear is taught, crafted and instilled in the fabric of our American lives. And although we make strides and progress is measurable at times, I can’t help but think… If I was put in the exact same situation that Alton was in, I would be alive today… Because of the color of my skin.”

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