In the aftermath of this week's shooting death of Alton Sterling by Louisiana police, a number of celebrities have used social media to express their sadness, frustration, and condolences.
Drake is now a part of that group — late Wednesday (July 6) night, he posted an open letter on Instagram about the incident. "When I saw the video of Alton Sterling being killed it left me feeling disheartened, emotional, and truly scared," he wrote, adding, "It's impossible to ignore the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago."
Sterling, a 37-year-old black man and father of five, was selling CDs outside a store when two white officers approached and brought him the ground. He was then shot six times, including twice in the chest, in an incident that was captured on video.
This outspokenness is a rare move for Drake, who has seldom used his platform to address issues of larger social concern and has drawn criticism for it. Over the last couple of years, though, there are select examples of his willingness to acknowledge headline-making incidents of the deaths of black men and women at the hands of police.
On his Meek Mill dis "Charged Up," he rapped, "Cops are killing people with they arms up / And your main focus is tryna harm us?" It seemed potentially disingenuous, given his lack of history tackling such issues and its use as a deflector in a bubbling musical battle with Meek. Still, it was nonetheless a reference to the 2014 shooting death of Mike Brown.
Earlier in 2015, on "6PM in New York," he also inserted a wider scope of subject and approach:
"And I heard someone say something that stuck with me a lot
About how we need protection from those protectin' the block
Nobody lookin' out for nobody
Maybe we should try and help somebody or be somebody
Instead of being somebody that makes the news
So everybody can tweet about it
And then they start to R.I.P. about it
And four weeks later nobody even speaks about it
Damn, I just had to say my piece about it"
Perhaps Drake is slowly getting more comfortable speaking on these sorts of issues as he's getting older. Or perhaps he's just fed up and, as he writes, "concerned," like so many others, and recognized the reach of his voice.