2016 has been a year of artistic and commercial triumphs for Beyoncé, who released both a clothing line and a culture-shaking new visual album in addition to launching a world tour. But it might be remembered as the year Beyoncé got woke.
In the wake of Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter movement, the pop superstar has grown increasingly comfortable raising her voice about violence perpetrated against African Americans, particularly by police officers. First there were the Ferguson-inspired elements (including graffiti that read "stop shooting us") in her "Formation" video, released in January, and a riotous performance of "Freedom" that brought the house down at the BET Awards in June.
Now, in the wake of the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Minnesota this week, both of which were captured on video, Beyoncé released a statement on her website that directs her fans to demand change.
"We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities," it begins. "We don't need sympathy. We need everyone to respect our lives. We're going to stand up as a community and fight against anyone who believes that murder or any violent action by those who are sworn to protect us should consistently go unpunished."
Beyoncé follows the statement with links on how to contact your congressman or congresswoman, noting that "We all have the power to channel our anger and frustration into action."
The full statement can be read here—it's called Freedom.