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Cardi B, J. Cole, Jesse Williams, And More Encourage The NFL To #TakeTheKnee

Celebrities speak out on social media and on stage in support of the peaceful protest of Colin Kaepernick

Social media erupted in outrage after Donald Trump called Colin Kaepernick a "son of a bitch" and encouraged the firing of any NFL player that chooses to peacefully protest during the National Anthem at football games.

Many chose to use their platforms — be they festival stages or simply the 140 characters allotted to a single tweet — to support the quarterback, and condemn Trump's divisive language, by encouraging those who felt the same to #TakeTheKnee. Long before Trump made these remarks, Jay-Z aligned himself with Kaepernick at the Meadows Festival, and Cardi B shouted him out at the 2017 MTV VMAs, saying that "as long as you kneel with us, we gon' be standin' for you, baby." Several other actors, artists, athletes, and more have followed suit since, and a selection of their thoughts can be read below.

  • Stevie Wonder

    The living legend took both knees during his Global Citizen Festival set on September 23: "Tonight, I'm taking a knee for America ... Both knees in prayer for our planet, our future, our leaders of the world, and our globe."

  • Diddy

    In a rare, compassionate Instagram vid, Diddy spoke directly to NFL players before game day, encouraging them to do something "really, really, really, really, really great" and show their support for their fellow players. "Do the math, stick together, stand up for each other, ride with each other, because believe me, we’re all we got — and it has nothing to do with football or business."

  • J. Cole

    In a Twitter thread, J. Cole encouraged his followers to refrain from tuning in to the various football games throughout the day (September 24) and urged them to consider the impact of their absence as NFL viewers: "You and me have the power to deny them our attention ($ to them) until they make a wrong situation right." He suggested that an investigation be launched to look into Kaepernick's shut-out from the league, and affirmed that he won't be supporting the NFL and watching a game "til it feel right."

  • Cardi B

    After her praise at the VMAs, Cardi B commented on the number of NFL teams taking a knee on September 24 by calling out the hypocrisy of team owners and the league at large. "All I want to know is... when are they going to hire Colin Kaepernick?😒😤"

  • Ava DuVernay

    Ava DuVernay endorsed J. Cole's thread above, and urged her followers to not only consider Kaepernick's message, but to "Amplify + donate" for the benefit of those in need — like the citizens of Puerto Rico, who are seeing unimaginable hardships in the wake of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.

  • Lakeith Stanfield

    The Atlanta actor's expression of solidarity is simple: He pledged to show his support the next time he strolls up to a major event.

  • Jesse Williams

    The actor and passionate activist used Twitter and Instagram to condemn Trump's words as those of a white supremacist in action, and linked out to some topical illustrations, too.

  • John Mayer

    Nah, John Mayer, it is completely, 100% okay for you to be talking about sports.

  • Questlove

    Stressing that it goes way deeper than a kneel, Questlove called for further understanding and for acknowledging why Kaepernick began his peaceful protest — to raise awareness for the scourge of police brutality targeting people of color in the United States — in the first place.