Vanessa Obioha chronicles some of the international celebrities who showed support for the #EndSARS movement and condemned the Lekki Shooting
To a large extent, #EndSARS protesters utilised social media platforms, particularly Twitter to garner support for their campaign. Their tweets placed Nigeria on a global spotlight, attracting international celebrities from politics, entertainment and sports sectors. Following the Lekki shootings, more celebrities joined in condemning the attack and pledging support for protesters.
Hillary Clinton: Former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton voiced concerns about the violence that accompanied the protest on the night of the widely reported Lekki shootings. She tweeted: “I’m calling on @mbuhari and the @hqnigerianarmy to stop killing young #EndSARS protesters.
That tweet marked the first time Clinton showed support for the movement.
Joe Biden: The Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden in the upcoming US elections in a statement on his website, urged the president, Muhammadu Buhari to put an end to the violent attack on peaceful protesters at the Lekki tollgate.
“I urge President Buhari and the Nigerian military to cease the violent crackdown on protesters in Nigeria, which has already resulted in several deaths. My heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one in the violence.”
He added that “the United States must stand with Nigerians who are peacefully demonstrating for police reform and seeking an end to corruption in their democracy. I encourage the government to engage in a good-faith dialogue with civil society to address these long-standing grievances and work together for a more just and inclusive Nigeria.”
Beyoncé: After several calls by her Nigerian fans and music artistes to support the EndSARS protest, American singer Beyoncé took to her Instagram page on Wednesday, October 21 to pledge her support to the campaign.
In a post on Instagram, the ‘Brown Skin Girl’ singer wrote that she is heartbroken about the turnout of events in the campaign to end police brutality in Nigeria.
“I am heartbroken to see the senseless brutality taking place in Nigeria. There has to be an end to SARS.”
She added that she has been working on partnerships with youth organisations “to support those protesting for change. We are collaborating with coalitions to provide emergency healthcare, food and shelter. To our Nigerian sisters and brothers, we stand with you.”
Beyoncé ended her post by directing fans to her website to see the list of organisations to show support.
Rihanna: As news of the Lekki shootings went viral on Twitter that faithful Tuesday, Rihanna was among the first celebrities to sympathise with Nigeria. She shared a photo collage of a bloodied Nigerian flag and a clean flag with words of encouragement.
“I can’t bear (sic) to see the torture and brutalisation that is continuing to affect nations across our planet. It’s such a betrayal to the citizens, the very people put in place to protect are the one we are most afraid of being murdered by! My heart is broken for Nigeria man! It is unbearable to watch. I am so proud of your strength and not letting up on the fight for what’s right.#EndSARS.”
Alicia Keys: Sharing the viral iconic photo of Aisha Yesufu, American singer Alicia Keys tweeted her support to the #EndSARS protest.
“My love goes out to #Nigeria #America and everywhere in the world that is fighting to change the systems designed to oppress! #EndSARS #EndPoliceBrutality
“Don’t give up, Stay hopeful, We are needed, You light is needed, Your love is needed, We are who we need…”
Kerry Washington: The star actress of the critically acclaimed American TV series, ‘Scandal’ Kerry Washington while sending loving thoughts to Nigeria, shared a link on her Twitter account for people to help the protesters. She tweeted: “#EndSARS 🏾 my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Nigeria. Here is how you can help.”
Chance the Rapper: In a tweet, American rapper, Chance the Rapper called for the world to engage with the #EndSARS protest.
He wrote: “There is a massacre happening in Lekki. Firing squads mass murdering young people in Nigeria. The world needs to engage #endSARS”
Nicki Minaj: Popular American female rapper Nicki Minaj was among the celebrities who condemned the violent attack on peaceful protesters at Lekki.
She tweeted: “Standing with & praying for the brave young people of Nigeria who are on the front lines of this senseless violence. Your voice is being heard. 🇳🇬 #EndSARS.”
Cassper Nyovest: South African rapper Cassper Nyovest took to Twitter to call on awareness and support for the #EndSARS campaign as well as other protests in other African countries, including South Africa.
“Please create awareness and pray for Nigeria with the fight to #EndSARS , South Africa for the #AmINext movement for women and children are not safe & Congo for #CongoIsBleeding 🧎🏾. Africa is a bloodbath. It is really scary and our leaders have failed us.”
Jada Pinkett-Smith: Actress, TV host and wife of Hollywood actor Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith shared a photo of an African map painted in Nigerian flag colours and a silhouette of a raised black fist on her official Twitter account.
She accompanied the photo with the following words: “The senseless brutality in Nigeria has me completely heartbroken. There has to change. #EndSARS #PrayForNigeria 🏽🖤”
Bow Wow: In support of the protest, an American rapper Shad Moss (Lil Bow Wow) who was popular in Nigeria during the early 2000s used a photo to convey his message. The photo showed a group of boys with their backs turned to the camera and flags of African countries draped on their backs in a solidarity pose. He simply wrote, “#Nigeria Stay Strong we are with you 🇳🇬 #peaceandlove.”
Tye Tribbett: American gospel artiste Tye Tribbett showed his solidarity with the protest by tweeting: “I stand with my brothers and sisters in Nigeria! You gave me the name #Oluseyi and you are my family 🏿 We are many members but ONE BODY! May the God who balances all scales bring justice and peace to #Nigeria #ENDsars #ENDpolicebrutality #liVe #GodHealOurLand 🏿”
Rio Ferdinand: Retweeting the viral video of Nigerian football star Odion Ighalo, the former English professional footballer Rio Ferdinand who visited the country early this year, wrote on his Twitter page: “Sending my love to everyone in Nigeria… 🇳🇬”
Naomi Campbell: Supermodel Naomi Campbell who is a great supporter of Arise Fashion Week, took to her Instagram page to call on the President to stop the violence.
She wrote: ‘President @muhammadubuhari, please stop the violence that is killing the Bright and promising future of Nigeria. Our youths and young generation are our leaders of the future. Show the world who are watching… BE THE HEAD OF STATE THAT SETS AN EXAMPLE! #STOP POLICE BRUTALITY!! # STOP THE SPECIAL ANIT ROBBERY SQUAD (sic). #ENDSARS NOW.
John Boyega: The Nigerian-British actor who has been quite vocal since the EndSARS protest began wrote an emotional message on Instagram “I don’t know what to say. To wage such war on your own people…They must pay.”
Anthony Joshua: Heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Joshua made a video on Instagram where he preached peace and positivity to the protesters. He also stated that he and his family are offering care packages for the injured protesters.