In the wake of former police officer Jeronimo Yanez's controversial manslaughter acquittal after fatally shooting Philando Castile — a black man — during a traffic stop last year, music legend Stevie Wonder had blunt words for some in the Black Lives Matter movement.
"It is in your hands to stop all the killing and all the shooting wherever it might be," Wonder told the crowd at the North Minneapolis Conference on Peace last weekend. "Because you cannot say, 'Black Lives Matter' and then kill yourselves. Because you know that we've mattered long before it was said, but the way we show that we matter — the way that we show that all the various people of color matter — is by loving each other and doing something about it, not just talking about it."
A writer for the Root said Wonder "took a line out of the 'All Lives Matter' playbook when he went all 'You black people kill each other.'”
"The black-on-black-crime trope that people love to throw out there when talking about the Black Lives Matter movement is such low-hanging fruit and grasping at straws," Yesha Callahan said. "But it doesn’t shock me one bit that it’s the only thing a celebrity can say when trying to discuss systemic racism and the problematic law-enforcement and judicial systems that have people yelling 'Black Lives Matter' to begin with."
But Black Lives Matter leader DeRay Mckesson on Wednesday tweeted that he met Wonder and asked about his Saturday statement. The activist said that Wonder told him he was "taken out of context" and "does support" Black Lives Matter.
I met Stevie Wonder tonight & asked him about his recent comment re: the movement. He noted that he was taken out o… https://t.co/vKt3ewGGKM— deray (@deray)1498095589.0
Wonder also told a London music festival audience last summer that he doesn't "give a f***" if they don't agree with his support of Black Lives Matter.
Saturday's Minneapolis conference drew several hundred people, Billboard reported, adding that it focused on violence on city streets.
"The first thing you must do is stop believing the fallacy of you not being important," Wonder said during his speech, the outlet said. "Because it is completely unacceptable for one to hate themselves so much that anyone that looks like you, you want to kill."