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George Floyd was honored at a televised memorial attended by politicians, celebrities and family members. The Rev. Al Sharpton, Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart, Ludacris, T.I., Will Packer, and Tyrese were among hundreds who attended the ceremony at North Central University's Frank J. Lindquist Sanctuary in Minneapolis on Thursday (June 4).
During the ceremony Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, shared stories about growing up with him. “Everywhere you go, you see people how they cling to him. They wanted to be around him,” he said. “George was like a general. He walks outside and everyone wanted to greet him, wanted to have fun with him.”
Sharpton delivered a rousing eulogy at the memorial. “I want us to not sit here and act like we had a funeral on a schedule. George Floyd should not be among the deceased,” said Sharpton. “He did not die of common health conditions, he died of a common American criminal justice malfunction. He died because there has not been the corrective behavior that has taught that if you commit a crime it does not matter if you wear blue jeans or a blue uniform, you must pay for the crime you commit.”
Sharpton touched on the similarities between the murders of Floyd’s and Eric Garner, and the oppression that the Black community has endured for hundreds of years.
“George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks. Because ever since 401 years ago the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed of being, is you kept your knee on our neck, We were smarter than the underfunded schools you put us in, but you had your knee on our neck, ” said Sharpton. “We could run corporations and not hustle in the street, but you had your knee on our neck. We had creative skills, we could do whatever anybody else could do, but we couldn’t get your knee off our neck. What happened to Floyd happens every day in this country, in education, in health services, and in every area of American life. It’s time for us to stand up in George’s name and say ‘Get your knee of our necks!’”
Others in attendance included Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, U.S., U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, Martin Luther King III, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Sharpton and Floyd’s family also announced that they will be holding a march on Washington D.C. in his honor in August.
Watch the full eulogy below.
Lauren London sat down for her first interview since the death of Nipsey Hussle. The 35-year-old actress opens up about losing her partner to gun violence in an episode of Jada Pinkett Smith's Red Table Talk titled, “How Gun Violence Affects Women.”
The episode, portions of which were filmed earlier in the year, features activist Erica Ford, founder of the violence prevention organization, Life Camp.
London spoke with Pinkett Smith about her earliest experiences with gun violence. “Just growing up in L.A. in the area that I was around,” she recalled. “In high school, a lot of the boys were in gangs. I just remember that a lot of our friends by summer time they were gone. They had transitioned from gun violence. So you kind of got a little bit, I don’t want to say numb, but used to hearing it.”
Pinkett Smith pointed out that growing up around constant gun violence is akin to living in a “war zone,” and becomes normalized.
“Even going to a party in high school…you always knew where the exit was because you knew at any time smoking can happen,” said London. “That’s traumatizing to be 16 years old and having to be on guard when you go to a party.”
London went on to spoke about healing through the trauma of losing Nipsey, the joy that she gets when people tell her the influence that he had on their lives, and raising sons.
“What I instill in them is more about the police,” London said of her children. “How to handle yourself if you get pulled over. That’s more of my [education] protecting them being Black men in America.”
London has also found a tribe among other women who have lost loved ones to gun violence, and has been leaning into her friends and family for support.
“For me, what’s really been important is connecting with God. That’s been a struggle because something horrible happens in your eyes and you’re like ‘How God?’ And knowing that there is life after this life, it’s not easy. I don’t always wake up on the enlightened side of the bed, and the days I don’t, I let myself because I’m human. I’m gentle with myself. I’m finding things that matter, so I try to live with a purpose. When I’m having a bad day I mediate, I go within.
“I think it’s important for people that love you to remind you [of] who you are because trauma and violence and just life can make you feel down,” London explained. “To have people that love you, that remind you that you matter, that you’ll be okay and you can do this, that’s been very important for me.”
Watch the episode below.
John Boyega delivered a powerful and moving speech during a Black Lives Matter rally in London on Wednesday (June 3).
“I wanna’ thank every single one of you for coming out this is very important, this is very vital. Black lives have always mattered,” the 28-year-old Star Wars actor said to a cheering crowd. “We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless, and now is the time. I ain’t waiting.
Boyega called out detractors for trying to derail the peaceful protest before sharing his feelings on the recent incidents of police brutality and white supremacist violence that have fueled recent uprisings. “I need you guys to understand how painful this s**t is! How painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing, [but] that isn’t that case anymore. We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland, for Trayvon Martin, for Steven Lawrence, for Mark Dugan.”
In another emotional moment, Boyega addressed Black men. “We need to take care of our Black women. They are our hearts,” he said through tears. “They are our future. We cannot demonize our own. We are the pillars of the family. Imagine this: a nation that is set up with individual families that are thriving, that are healthy, that communicate, that raise their children in love, [that] have a better rate of becoming better human beings and that’s what we need to create. Black men, it starts with you.”
Watch the full speech below.