The Weeknd used his platform at the Video Music Awards, after winning Best R&B VMA for his After Hours single “Blinding Lights,” to advocate for justice for Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake.
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The singer spoke for just under 20 seconds, implying that the recent killings are weighing on his mental: “It’s really hard for me to celebrate right now and enjoy this moment, so I’m just gonna say justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor,” he told the audience.
Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police Department officers executing a no-knock search warrant at her apartment. Officers fatally shot Taylor who was in her bed during the unannounced break-in. The shooting sparked protests across the nation.
Blake was shot in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin while attempting to enter his vehicle. Blake is reportedly paralyzed from the waist down after being shot at seven times. The shooting prompted NBA players to go on strike amidst the playoffs. They returned to play Saturday, having settled on several agreements with ownership, including that NBA stadiums be used as voting centers for the upcoming presidential election in November.
Check back later tonight to see other winners from the event.