MTV Video Music Awards
Cher, John Legend Lend Voices to Outrage Over Trayvon Martin's Death
The Feb. 26 fatal shooting of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch captain has sparked a nationwide outrage, due in part because the alleged shooter has not been charged or detained. As of Thursday morning, an online petition on Change.org started by Martin's parents is fast approaching 1 million signatures, among them a number of music's biggest stars who have also been vocal on social media.
"We must not forget Trayvon Martin! This beautiful young man was murdered in FLA. & his killer was set free without even a drug test! SHAME!" wrote Cher on Twitter. Other musicians like Wyclef Jean, Flea, Jill Scott, Monica, Janelle Monae, Joel Madden, Big Boi, Chuck D, Questlove of The Roots and John Legend have all spoken out. Russell Simmons' Global Grind website has covered the uproar extensively.
"Murder is illegal. If you get caught you go to prison," wrote Legend on March 18. "This is egregious because the guy is comfortably sitting at home."
Monae has posted several tweets with links to the petition throughout the last week, writing on Sunday that, "I'm gonna keep sending this out until justice is served. Racial profiling on our people has got to end."
Keyshia Cole wrote, "He had no right to take this young man's life."
The 17-year-old Martin was shot and killed Feb. 26 in a gated community in Sanford, a suburb of Orlando. The neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, said he shot the teen in self-defense because the youth attacked him. Police said that Martin was walking to a family friend's house holding a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea.
On Wednesday, demonstrators gathered at New York City's Union Square to call for Zimmerman's arrest. The victim's parents were on hand to address supporters at the event, dubbed the Million Hoodie March in reference to the sweatshirt Martin was wearing at the time of his death.
"My son did not deserve to die," Martin's dad Tracy Martin said. Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother, told the crowd: "My heart is in pain, but to see the support of all of you really makes a difference."