Drake Responds to Alton Sterling Shooting: “No One Begins Their Life As a Hashtag”


On Tuesday, yet another black man was killed by police in America. Alton Sterling was a 37-year-old father in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, whose death at the hands of white police was recorded, and later went viral. The media and internet have reacted loudly, and so have celebrities. But few messages have been able to strike as directly as Drake’s, which he issued last night. Via Instagram, of course.

In the open letter, Drake begins with mention of his being Canadian, but also that he calls America his second home. In the letter, he says that he woke up after seeing the video of Alton Sterling with a feeling of being “disheartened, emotional, truly scared, and with a strong need to say something.” He goes on, saying,

“Impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago. No one begins their life as a hashtag. Yet, the trend of being reduced to one continues. “

Drake’s response was in the wake of Sterling, but his letter came only hours before America was alerted to yet another tragedy that had occurred and been filmed, this time the death of Philando Castille, who was shot by a white policeman near Minneapolis during a routine traffic stop. Castille, who was reportedly licensed to carry a firearm, was shot by police as he went to reach for identification .The aftermath of the incident was broadcast on Facebook Live. According to The Guardian‘s ongoing interactive tally of police killings in America, Castille and Sterling are just two of 136 black Americans who have been killed by police in 2016.

Drake concludes his letter by saying, “Be safe out there,” which might sound empty if, you know, not for all of the police killings this year. Read Drake’s full letter below.