How Musicians Responded to the Ferguson Verdict

Courtesy of Joshua Lott/Getty Images
Courtesy of Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Last night, the Ferguson protests grew violent when a grand jury revealed that they would not be indicting police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown. Here’s how the music world responded.

Beyoncé posted a statement from the Brown family to her Instagram in which they express their disappointment, but request that the protests remain peaceful.

Bono was quiet last night, but one of his most recent tweets was something he wrote about Ferguson back in August: “Polling on #Ferguson shows huge racial divide on our perception, does one really have to be black to know that systemic racism still exists?”

Garth Brooks officially cancelled his upcoming talk show appearances, posting the following to Facebook: “We landed in NY last night to the news of the civil unrest that was going on in our nation. To spend the day promoting our stuff like nothing was wrong, seemed distasteful to me. I will gladly reschedule any or all appearances the networks will allow. Love one another, g.”

Nick Cannon posted three somber tweets: “In London wishing I could be in Ferguson,” “No need for the gas, we already had tears,” and “Prayer Changes Things. #Ferguson.”

Cher tweeted about her disappointment with the verdict, but also expressed her disproval of the violent protests, writing “Violence is NOT the ANSWER ! VOTE 2Change State Laws.There Must b Change in Attitude & BALANCE In Police & Lawmakers! [sic],” “Violence against business’s of this community is A CRIME ! What about children & Old people who live there!Market Burned?LOOTING,FIRES WTF [sic]” and “OMG Nightmare! What Does Looting & Setting Fire 2Innocent Ppls Stores & Cars Have 2do W/Michael Browns Death? ITS NOT PROTEST,IT’S CRIME [sic].”

Goapele retweeted the following Martin Luther King Jr. quote: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Lauren Hill had the message “An old sketch of Black Rage, done in my living room. Strange, the course of things. Peace for MO” pinned as her top tweet. Attached was a SoundCloud link to her song, “Black Rage,” which was written in response to the Ferguson shooting.

Alicia Keys posted a picture to Instagram that simply said “Mike Brown” in all caps, followed by second picture quoting Maya Angelou: “Hate. It has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved one yet.”

Kid Cudi immediately responded to the verdict by tweeting “Same ol’ bullshit in the U.S.A.” and signing off with “Love to everyone who needs it tonight or if you just want a lil extra, I got you. Dream sweet.”

Killer Mike of Run the Jewels was extremely vocal, giving a speech during his performance and tweeting statements like “If u are on the streets of ferguson don’t break, wait…..plot, plan, strategize, organize THEN MOBILIZE! #RevenegeIsaPlateBestServedCold” and “Change our tattics [sic] & retreat to our own. We don’t need these mother f***ers.  We do not NEED these liars and murders and puppet politicians.”

Talib Kweli has been active on Twitter almost nonstop since the verdict, writing statements like “They called those getting bitten by dogs & sprayed by hoses in the 50s & 60s violent thugs too. May our memories be long tonight.” and “Justice is NOT revenge. I do not condone violence or revenge. But justice must be DEMANDED.”

Lorde retweeted an impassioned statement from Q-Tip, along with an update from BBC and a photoset remembering Michael Brown.

Macklemore took to the streets in Seattle, joining a protest that eventually turned violent and caused the local highway to shut down. “Solidarity,” he told reporters. “It’s not about me. It’s about Mike Brown.” The rapper also tweeted, “The system that instills & protects white supremacy wins again. Humanity loses…No justice. I pray for Mike Brown & his family. So sad.”

Miguel posted the following text to Instagram: “my heart wants to riot. my mind knows there is a better way. i just hope all the frustration, disgust, and disappointment last long enough to actually effect some kind of change.”

Tom Morello, who previously released a song called “Marching on Ferguson” in support of the protests, tweeted the following last night: “Baseball, apple pie, decisions like this. #Merica” and “Hey #Ferguson: take it easy. BUT TAKE IT. #MichaelBrown #FergusonDecision #f***thosef***inf***ers.”

Katy Perry remained neutral, tweeting, “Feeling stuck all the way over here in Sydney seeing the news just now… Sending my prayers to Ferguson & praying for an equal America.”

Pharell tweeted: “I’m heartbroken over the news of no indictment in Ferguson. Let’s all pray for peace.”

Q-Tip marched at the protests in New York, leading a chant of “Whose streets? Our streets.” He also took to Twitter, writing, “No value for black life.  But they extrapolate our magic, sweat, our voice our fire… And leave us stripped of our right to exist.”

Rihanna posted two pictures to her Instagram last night, starting with the following John Lennon quote: “When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you – pull your beard, flick your face to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non violence.” The second picture she posted was a picket sign that said “Justice for _____! I left it blank because I’ll probably need this next year,” which was painted to appear blood-splattered.