As the world reacts to the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, some celebrity voices seem to be missing the point.
In light of Alton Sterling’s tragic death, British-American actress Mischa Barton made a bad situation worse when she offered her “condolences” on Instagram. Her diatribe against systemic police brutality appeared alongside a picture of her pouting on a yacht with an alcoholic beverage in hand. Hardly an appropriate choice.
While she may have had good intentions, the picture appears to demonstrate self-interest and insensitivity. The close-to-satirical upload drew the ire of many, who saw it as an oblivious action by someone in a position of privilege and luxury.
The post has since been removed from her page following a storm of controversy. There were any number of ways she could have shown support without turning it into a not-so-subtle self-indulgent holiday pic, such as posting something not involving her enjoying herself in a bikini.
Many other celebrities have spoken out about the shooting without the use of yachts. Drake used Instagram to post a letter to his fans:
“I’m concerned for the safety of my family, my friends and any human being that could fall victim to this pattern. I do not know the answer. But I believe things can change for the better. Open and honest dialogue is the first step.”
Beyonce issued a statement detailing that everyone in her community will fight “anyone who believes that murder or any violent action by those who are sworn to protect us should consistently go unpunished”. She also demonstrated how you should actually use an international platform of fame to speak out, as she paused her Formation concert in Glasgow to display a memorial filled with the names of police victims.
Those of us living in a privileged position should realise it’s not all about us.
If you really want to oppose police brutality in the US and abroad, your time would be far better spent listening to the voices of the community rather than using the hashtag to build your own reputation as a concerned individual.