Borrowing from the viral ice bucket challenge earlier this year, Samuel L. Jackson has taken to social media with a new challenging, also for a good cause. Jackson recorded a video, and shared it on his Facebook page, challenging other celebrities to a join him in singing for a protest song that challenges racist practices within our country’s police forces – practices that have led to the deaths of black men and women over the years.
“All you celebrities out there who poured ice water on your head, here’s a chance to do something else,” Jackson said, referring to the popular ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from earlier this year. “I challenge all of you to sing the ‘We ain’t gonna stop until people are free’ song.”
The song’s lyrics include the words “I can’t breathe,” Eric Garner’s last words, as he was being choked to death by New York’s finest.
Protests were held this weekend in major cities, including New York and Washington, D.C., following grand juries’ recent decisions not to indict the officer who killed Garner or the officer who shot and killed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. in August.
People have been honoring Garner by wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts. LeBron James wore one while warming up before a recent NBA game, and members of the Selma cast donned them at the film’s Sunday premiere.
Will any other celebrities join Jackson in protest, as they did with the Ice Bucket Challenge? Well, thus far, from what I can tell, no one else has stepped up. Will they? We’ll see. Although I wouldn’t expect many to do so, if only because calling the police “racist” publicly might be considered too, dare I say, radical for some, and no one wants to be labeled a radical, do they? Obviously Jackson is very much his own man, known for being frank.