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'17 More Ways': Music stars led by Alicia Keys call for Biden-Harris administration to create racial justice commission

Mary J Blige, TI and more have called for the new commission's establishment within 100 days of the start of the Biden administration

Singer Alicia Keys attended a drive-in campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in October 2020. AFP
Singer Alicia Keys attended a drive-in campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in October 2020. AFP

In a video entitled 17 Ways Black People Are Killed in America, music stars led by Alicia Keys have called for the creation of a US government commission on racial justice within 100 days of the start of the Biden administration.

Keys, who went on the campaign trail with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris back in October, also led a video in 2016 called 23 Ways You Could Be Killed By Being Black in America, in which celebrities such as Beyonce and Bono highlighted the circumstances in which black Americans such as Sandra Bland and Philando Castile had died.

In this new video, stars including Mary J Blige, Khalid and TI do the same, raising awareness of the circumstances surrounding the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and more.

"I can't believe I'm back four years later with 17 more ways you can be killed," says Keys at the beginning of the video.

"More than 1,000 people were killed by current or former police officers in 2020," reads a caption. "The lives lost to police violence are disproportionately black and brown people."

The video, on behalf of the #breathewithme Revolution and Black Music Action Coalition, goes on to ask for the establishment of a commission that "leads to restorative and reparative action in order to achieve racial justice".

This was first proposed by Northern California representative Barbara Lee in the US House of Representatives in June 2020. It was entitled the United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation.

Lee's proposal stated this new commission would "properly acknowledge, memorialise, and be a catalyst for progress, including toward permanently eliminating persistent racial inequities".

'It makes me physically sick'

A similar message was heard from Stevie Wonder on Monday, January 18, marking Martin Luther King Jr Day.

Addressing King, Wonder said in a video posted to his Twitter account: "You would not believe the lack of progress. It makes me physically sick. I am sick that politicians try to find an easy solution to a 400-year problem."

He added: "We need a truth commission that forces this country to look at its lies ... I’m calling on President Biden and Vice President Harris to launch a formal government investigation to establish the truth of inequality in this country."

Updated: January 20, 2021 02:22 PM

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