Beyoncé, Diddy, Rihanna call for end to Nigeria's police brutality and unrest

By Nardine SaadStaff Writer Oct. 21, 202012:42 PM Facebook Twitter Show more sharing options Share Close extra sharing options Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Copy Link URLCopied! Print

A “heartbroken” Beyoncé said late Wednesday that she has been working to help end police brutality in Nigeria after weeks of unrest have enveloped the African nation.

The “Black Is King” musician and filmmaker had apparently been called out by fans for remaining quiet as violent protests erupted across the sub-Saharan republic. The protests began two weeks ago after a video circulated showing a man being beaten, apparently by police officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS, according to the Associated Press.

“I am heartbroken to see the senseless brutality taking place in Nigeria,” the Grammy-winning singer wrote on her Instagram account and website. “There has to be an end to SARS.”

Beyoncé said she has been working on partnerships with youth organizations to support those protesting for change, as well as collaborating with coalitions to provide emergency healthcare, food and shelter.

“To our Nigerian sisters and brothers, we stand with you,” she added, directing followers to links to donate to Nigeria’s Feminist Coalition and Connected Development, or CODE.

Young protesters have marched in cities across Nigeria for weeks under the banner #EndSARS. In response, the government announced it would ban the anti-robbery squad, which for several years human rights groups have blamed for widespread abuses, including torture and killings.

However, on Tuesday, Amnesty International said there was “credible but disturbing evidence” that security forces in the Nigerian metropolis of Lagos had fatally shot protesters who were demonstrating against police brutality despite a new curfew going into effect.

Still, the comments on Beyoncé's post somewhat excoriated the global superstar for remaining quiet after capitalizing on her African heritage for “Black Is King.” Others praised her for working in the background to provide meaningful help to the Nigerian protesters.

“She literally just posted what she’s been doing in silence but now that she was bullied to say something even though she was doing something behind closed doors people are still mad,” wrote one fan.

“THIS is why it took so long for her to post, because her team were working on providing ACTUAL resources for people in Nigeria!” added another. “She didn’t just want to put up a meaningless post, she wanted her words to have ACTION behind them. Beyonce.com is full of resources for Nigerian people. This isn’t just an empty post like all your other faves.”

Nigerian singer and songwriter Burna Boy, who was featured on “Ja Ara E” from Beyonce’s “The Lion King: The Gift” soundtrack, has been vocal about the bloodshed and protesting among his fellow citizens.

Other Nigerian collaborators, including “Don’t Jealous Me’s” Tekno and Mr Eazi and “Brown Skin Girl” singer Wizkid, have been vocal supporters of the youth protesters, tweeting daily reminders for weeks calling on the disbandment of SARS , as well as graphic images and videos of the violence.

Stateside, several other celebrities have acknowledged the unrest, including Rihanna, Trevor Noah and Diddy.

Posting an image of a bloodied Nigerian flag, Barbadian singer and beauty mogul Rihanna also posted a lengthy statement saying that the brutalization is “such a betrayal to the citizens.”

"[T]he very people put in place to protect are the ones we are most afraid of being murdered by!” she wrote on Instagram and Twitter. “My heart is broken for Nigeria man!! It is unbearable to watch!”

“The Daily Show” host Noah, who hails from South Africa, lamented the familiarity of the unrest.

“What our Nigerian brothers and sisters are going through is painful and all too familiar,” he tweeted Wednesday. “Today the people of Nigeria are exposing and standing up to their governments lies. We should all support #EndSARS and the movement for a Nigeria free from corruption!”

Music mogul and Revolt TV founder Diddy, who discussed the situation during a sprawling interview with Charlamagne Tha God last week, has been retweeting coverage and has promoted the movement’s hashtag, #endsars, on his various platforms.