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The Weeknd Dedicated His MTV Video Music Awards to Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor

The Weeknd Dedicated His MTV Video Music Awards to Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor

There was something particularly poignant about watching singer Abel Tesfaye—also known as The Weeknd—cross the stage with his face bruised and bloody (from stage makeup, thankfully) to accept his awards at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. Although he’s worn this graphic look for months as promotion for his single “Blinding Lights,” the fake injuries seemed all the more real as he called attention to the real-life violence against Black men and women in America.

“It’s really hard for me to celebrate right now and enjoy this moment,” he told the audience. “So I’m just gonna say: justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor. Thank you.”

Both Blake and Taylor were shot by police earlier this year. Blake was shot seven times in the back, and though he survived, he is now paralyzed from the waist down. Taylor was murdered in her own home when police entered and fired at her at least eight times. This violence, along with those against other Black men and women this year, including George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, fomented a nationwide reckoning this summer.

In June, The Weeknd donated a total of $500,000 to organizations including Black Lives Matter, National Bail Out, and Know Your Rights Camp, according to Entertainment Weekly. “Keep supporting our brothers and sisters out there risking everything to push for actual change for our black lives,” he wrote in an accompanying Instagram post.

You can find resources to support justice for Jacob Blake and other victims of police brutality here.

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