Beyonce stopped her concert and called for a moment of silence for Trayvon Martin, rapper Young Jeezy released a song in his memory and Russell Simmons called for peace after George Zimmerman was acquitted by a Florida jury in the death of the teenager.
There was a wide range of reactions from celebrities after jurors cleared George Zimmerman late Saturday of all charges in the 2012 shooting death of the unarmed 17-year-old Martin.
Beyonce took a moment to honor Trayvon Martin during her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour concert at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
Her concert started about 30 minutes after the Zimmerman verdict began to circulate.
“I’d like to have a moment of silence for Trayvon,” Beyonce star said as the stage grew dark with just a few key lights shining.
Beyonce then sang the chorus of I Will Always Love You, a song, fittingly given the location, written by country music star Dolly Parton and brought to a global audience by the late Whitney Houston, before transitioning into her hit Halo.
It was just one of several reactions from celebrities and artists following George Zimmerman’s acquittal by a six-woman jury.
Much of it focused on the perceived outrage of the situation. But others had more poignant responses.
Young Jeezy posted a new song, It’s a Cold World (A Tribute to Trayvon Martin), to his Facebook page with a comment: “I am in no way shape, form, or fashion … trying to capitalize off of the latest series of events. These are my true feelings and my form of expression about it.”
Russell Simmons, a producer and entrepreneur, posted a blog entry that said he’d be supporting the Trayvon Martin Foundation in helping to repeal laws like Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. He signed off: “God bless you little brother. Rest in peace.”
He also called for those upset with the verdict to channel their energy away from violence on Twitter, telling followers “we must remain peaceful. No matter what, remain peaceful”.
“If u have any anger this evening,” Russell Simmons wrote on Twitter, “put that energy into challenging these horrible laws that allow overly-anxious neighborhood watchmen to carry guns and shoot innocent people.”
Figures from music, film and sport repeated the sentiment while angry and saddened by the court ruling.
Stevie Johnson, wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills compared the Zimmerman verdict to Michael Vicks dog fighting case.
“Living in a world where you fight dogs; you could lose everything (Mike Vick).. If you kill a black man you’re not guilty! #INjusticesystem,” Stevie Johnson wrote.
Musicians also tweeted their frustration with the jury’s verdict. Celebrities including Rihanna, Ice Cube, and Nicki Minaj criticized the court’s verdict.
Rihanna tweeted: “This is the saddest news ever!!! #whatsjustice.”
Ice Cube wrote: “The Trayvon Martin verdict doesn’t surprise me. Stanford, FL never wanted Zimmerman arrested. Now he’s free to kill another child.”
American Idol judge and pop star Nicki Minaj wrote: “And our taxes paid for that trial. We just paid to see a murderer walk free after killing an innocent unarmed little boy. #GodBlessAmerica.”
Actors spoke out against the verdict as well, sending their prayers to the Martin family and expressing their disapproval of the court’s verdict.
Singer and actress Mandy Moore responded similarly writing: “My heart is heavy…for all who knew and loved #TrayvonMartin. His life mattered. This is shameful.”
One star who overstepped the mark was New York Giants player Victor Cruz.
The footballer wrote: “Thoroughly confused. Zimmerman doesn’t last a year before the hood catches up to him.”
The message was promptly deleted.
Trayvon Martin’s father also used Twitter as a public forum to speak after the verdict was handed down in his son’s trial.
Tracy Martin released several tweets shortly after the jury’s verdict was announced.
“God blessed Me & Sybrina with Tray and even in his death I know my baby proud of the FIGHT we along with all of you put up for him GOD BLESS,” wrote Saturday night.
Then two minutes later Tracy Martin said: “Thanks to everyone who are with us and who will be with us so we together can make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”
This morning he added: “Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY.”
Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, added: “Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have. At the end of the day, GOD is still in control. Thank you all for your prayers and support. I will love you forever Trayvon!!! In the name of Jesus!!!”