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Artists flood social media with tributes to the late George Floyd and calls for racial justice

See some of the most inspiring tributes posted by artists to Instagram.

Written by
Howard Halle

Ever since the May 25 death of George Floyd while in custody of the Minneapolis police, a wave of demonstrations have broken out in cities across the United States (not to mention overseas, in places like Paris and Berlin). The outrage prompted by the circumstances surrounding Floyd's arrest, and the manner in which he died, has also ignited protests of a more violent sort, resulting in the imposition of curfews in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and other major metropolitan areas.

Social media has been central to the unfolding of these events, which have turned their focus from Floyd's tragic fate to broader calls for social justice, police reform and the end of systemic racism. Instagram in particular has been home to activities of all sorts, including posts by artists offering their views on the issues in the form of artworks and tributes. Hundreds have found their way onto the platform so far. Here, we offer a selection of some of the very best ones.

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A post shared by Marilyn Minter (@marilynminter) on

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George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Bre Taylor. I drew these today with sharpie, and if these images speak to you, please feel use them. No further permission needed. I’ll even send you the jpegs. I’ve got nothing to say that hasn’t been said and sung by better people but I’m making these available because the images we share matter. At the height of Jim Crow, lynchings were advertised in newspapers to draw crowds of hundreds or thousands of white onlookers. Modern lynchings draw audiences in the millions. And the message of a lynching is never just for the person killed; it’s just as much a message for everyone watching. That’s why it’s important for me, for all icon writers and artists and social media users, as we grieve these three and so many others, to share what we can of their dignity, their glory, their goodness, and their light. #justiceforahmaud #justiceforahmaudarbery #justiceforgeorgefloyd #justiceforbreonnataylor #justiceforfloyd #blacklivesmatter

A post shared by Rat Priest | Master of Bunkam (@thegreatcrostini) on

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To my fellow white people: if you are sitting in judgment and condemnation of the protests going on in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, I urge you to look at and reflect on the many, many peaceful protests against systemic racism and police brutality that have gone on in recent years, and how they have been received. I urge you to do the uncomfortable thing by putting yourself in the hopelessly frustrated, righteously furious shoes of the people of color that have been demanding justice for centuries, of honestly examining how you might feel and respond in the same situation, of considering that sometimes a peaceful avenue to meaningful change does not exist. And if you want to see change, as you should, I urge you to do the difficult but critical, unavoidable work of exploring the ways you have benefited from and upheld a racist and unjust system. Only when we can acknowledge that we have inevitably been a part of the problem can we begin to be part of the solution. It’s up to those in power, including white people who benefit from the status quo, to hear the protests of those we have oppressed *in whatever form they take,* to see the system for what it is, to set aside our discomfort and use our power and privilege to reject and dismantle it. I recommend the books White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo and Mindful of Race by Ruth King as places to start scratching the surface. Many more resources are out there and easy to find.⁣ .⁣ I am donating 100% of all proceeds from all my print and greeting card sales to the ACLU for the next week. I am also donating 100% of proceeds from any order placed since May 25, 2020, the day George Floyd was murdered.

A post shared by Tori Press (@revelatori) on

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Yesterday, in yet another act of anti-black police violence causing mass outrage, George Floyd yelled “I can’t breathe” and pleaded for his life as a white Minneapolis police officer violently pinned him down with his knee on his neck. George died after. He was murdered in broad daylight. His death is reminiscent of the death of Eric Garner. Even with a crowd yelling at him to stop and while folks filmed the murder, the cop did it anyway, showing the massive injustice, zero accountability and white supremacy embedded in the “criminal justice” system. Heartbroken, angry and disgusted. This must end. Much love and solidarity to Black communities grieving another beautiful life lost. May George Floyd Rest in Power. Text ‘Floyd’ to 55156 to demand the officers be charged with murder. You can also call Mayor Jacob Frey at (612)-673-2100, DA Mike Freeman at (612)-348-5550 and demand justice. #blacklivesmatter #georgefloyd #icantbreathe #justiceforgeorgefloyd

A post shared by shirien (@shirien.creates) on

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