Former Nickelodeon star Keke Palmer has responded after a video of her at a recent Black Lives Matter protest in Los Angeles went viral. For those who missed, in the clip, the actress passionately spoke with members of the National Guard and begged them to “march with us” and “be the change” in the fight against racial injustice and police brutality following the murder of George Floyd — a 46-year-old, unarmed black man who passed away in Minneapolis, MN, on May 25, after a police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
After explaining that they couldn’t leave their post to march with the protesters, the National Guardsmen all took a knee in solidarity.
“We have people here that need your help,” Keke said in the video. “This is when y’all stand together with the community, with society, to stop the governmental oppression. Period. We need you, so march with us.”
Watch all of this. pic.twitter.com/YHq0QhXrnw
— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) June 2, 2020
Now, the 26-year-old spoke out during an appearance on Good Morning America, and explained the entire story of the now-viral video.
“It happened very randomly. You know, I was just talking to the people I was marching with, and I just posed the question of why are they not with us? Why are they not able to be with us? Here we are, marching in peace and with purpose, and I’m sure many of them feel the same way as we do. And I wanted us to just unite as human beings above all, and that’s when we started to approach them,” she explained. “I think, you know, those that are kneeling, it can be seen as a walk in the same direction. We all can also see that just moments after, that in some of these cities we have seen the kneel, we’ve also see the tear gassing and everything, the chaos afterward.
She continued, “And so obviously everybody has a choice to make in working for the government, whether you are a policeman or working with the National Guard or politics. I think I as a citizen want to know what side of history you’re trying to be on. Like, is there a person in that uniform? I know there’s a person in that uniform. And I want to know people that are in these powerful positions of saving or taking a life, I want to know they’re with the citizens and committed to taking a stand against the system and the injustices. And if we are unified, no matter who you are or what you’re wearing, we create change. Buildings can be rebuilt, but once lives are taken, they’re gone.”
Then the True Jackson VP star offered some words of advice to viewers.
“First of all, that your voice matters. You don’t have to be Keke or a quote-unquote celebrity or something like this. I’m a normal person who feels and breathes the same way you do. And I’m not a genius. I don’t have all the answers, and I’m not the only voice that represents this topic,” she said. “With the millennials, I think we spend time reading a little bit of what’s on the news and what’s online because, you know, we get to see it raw, from the viewer, from the people who are on the ground. And it’s not just a snapshot that fits one narrative but all perspectives. Voting, obviously, using our voice and dismantling the current system. You know, the conversation isn’t just are or are you not racist; the conversation is now how deep is your interest in eradicating racism and what are the actions you’re willing to take to systematically change the inequalities, you know, unifying no matter what your color or your job but being united as human beings, and to hold America accountable to be the great country we know she’s meant to be. I want to see her at her best. I want see her live up to the creed, that all people are here as equals.”
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