Famous Quotes From Celebrities on Race, Prejudice, and Equality
Influential people hold big roles; at the right place and the right time, their voices can educate and raise awareness on important social issues.
In an ideal world, the 21st century would be free of appalling issues such as racism, police brutality, and white supremacy. But in reality, these concerns are prevalent and many voices need to be echoed.
In this article, Tatler has gathered inspirational quotes from celebrities who devoted their speeches to condemn hate crimes that stemmed from discrimination.
Award-winning pop star Lady Gaga has always been known for spreading love across the world through her music. When she accepted an award during the Beloved Community Awards in January 2021, she did not hesitate to stand up against injustice.
“The colour of my own skin is not lost on me,” she said. “I am aware I am before you as Stefani Germanotta, my given name; as Lady Gaga, a famous white woman with the power of a large platform,” she said. “My racial identity alone centres my whiteness while I’m still very much finding my place in creating Dr King Jr’s beloved community.”
“I dedicate this award to Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, triumphant people, whose resilience is the life force of every beloved community in this country,” the singer expressed.
“Black, Brown, and Indigenous people continue to thrive in the midst of systemic oppression, thrive with radical joy, unapologetically creating full and beautiful lives despite the systems of white supremacy that are intended to keep them from doing so.”
In the recently concluded 93rd Academy Awards, Tyler Perry, who won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, called for unity and asked people to “refuse hate”.
"Just where we are in the country and the world, and everybody is grabbing a corner and a colour, and they are all – nobody wants to come to the middle to have a conversation," he said.
"Everybody is polarised, and it's in the middle where things change. So I'm hoping that that inspires people to meet us in the middle so that we can get back to some semblance of normal. As this pandemic is over, we can get to a place where we are showing love and kindness to each other again," he added.
(Related: Oscars 2021: 7 Asian Nominees and Winners Who Made History)
Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex addressed George Floyd's killing in a virtual graduation speech for her former high school in Los Angeles.
In her speech, Markle said that it was not easy for her to find the words to express her feelings about Floyd’s death on 25 May in Minneapolis. “I wasn't sure what I could say to you,” she said. “I wanted to say the right thing. And I was really nervous that I wouldn’t, or that it would get picked apart, and I realized: The only wrong thing to say is to say nothing”.
“Because George Floyd’s life mattered, and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered, and Philando Castile’s life mattered, and Tamir Rice’s life mattered, and so did so many other people whose names we know and whose names we don’t know,” she added.
(Related: Meghan Markle And Prince Harry's Oprah Interview: Everything You Need To Know)
Barbadian singer Rihanna has delivered a powerful speech at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Awards in Pasadena, California.
While accepting the President Award, the Fenty CEO called for unity to fight inequality. “I’m lucky I was able to start the Clara Lionel Foundation in 2012. And if there’s anything that I’ve learned, it’s that we can only fix this world together,” Rihanna said. “We can’t do it divided. I cannot emphasise that enough. We can’t let the de-sensitivity seep in. The, ‘If it’s your problem, then it’s not mine; it’s a woman’s problem; it’s a black people problem; it’s a poor people problem.’”
“I mean, how many of us in this room have colleagues and partners and friends from other races, sexes, religions? Show of hands. Well, they want to break bread with you, right? Do they like you? Well, then this is their problem too. So when we’re marching and protesting and posting about the Michael Brown Jrs and Atatiana Jeffersons of the world, tell your friends to pull up.”
“I just want to shout out all the big black girls I bring onstage with me. I do that because I want them to know they are the trophies. Since this is the final award of the night, I don’t even want to make it about me. Every last one of you: You are the award. We are so special. We are such beautiful people. This is just a reminder of all the incredible things that we can do,” the pop star continued.
(Related: Why Rihanna’s Fenty Fashion Line with LVMH Didn’t Work Out)
How To Get Away With Murder star Viola Davis made everyone’s eyes tear during the 2015 Emmy Awards.
After becoming the first African-American to win an Emmy for the best actress in a drama, Davis delivered a speech that Hollywood would remember for a long time.
"In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me—over that line. But I can’t seem to get there [any] how. I can’t seem to get over that line,” she said.
"That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s. And let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity,” she stressed.