Kanye West Leaves Chicago Rally After Organisers Call Out Celebrities Hijacking Protests
Kanye West swiftly departed a ‘Justice for George Floyd/CPD out of CPS’ rally in Chicago, after organisers called out celebrities for hijacking protests.
The rapper returned to his hometown on Thursday, June 4, to support a Black Lives Matter protest in the wake of Floyd’s death. After phoning up Good Kids Mad City to notify them of his presence, Kanye strove to keep a low profile at the march – wearing a black hoodie and face mask as he walked.
However, protesters and press soon swarmed the Runaway artist, turning an orderly rally into a more chaotic group of fans and eager photographers. Due to this, Kanye didn’t stay for long.
The organisers soon became frustrated with the disorder, with 20-year-old Taylore Norwood grabbing a microphone and telling the crowd: ‘I would like to reiterate that this is a youth-led rally. This is not a celebrity pop-up. You will not hijack this rally from the people who organized it, point blank period.’
Soon after, Kanye appeared to leave the protest as other attendees continued their march to Chicago Police Department’s headquarters. The event was co-organised by Alycia Kamil, 19, and Jalen Kobayashi, 19, intended as a call for justice for Floyd and plea to invest in schools rather than the city’s police.
Protesters referred to the murder of Laquan McDonald in their chants, a 17-year-old black male who was shot 16 times by Jason Van Dyke, a white police officer, in 2014. As they marched, people shouted: ‘16 shots and a cover-up!’
Kanye’s appearance at the rally came after a slew of announcements regarding his contributions to the families of black people killed at the hands of police. As well as vowing to pay college tuition fees for Floyd’s daughter Gianna later in life, he’s also donated $2 million to Floyd’s family and those of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor to assist with legal costs.
Lonita Baker, a Louisville attorney representing Taylor’s family, told USA Today:
Typically, the costs would be deducted from any recovery that the family may receive at the conclusion of the case. Kanye wanted to ensure that the family would not have to bear the brunt of those costs.
Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was shot dead by two armed, white residents of Brunswick – Gregory McMichael, 64, and son Travis, 34 – in February this year. Taylor was killed after being shot at least eight times in her home by police as officers served a no-knock search warrant for drugs – none of which were found.
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