'Why I Protest': Kali Uchis on Why She Marches in Solidarity With Black Lives Matter

Kali Uchis
Amber Asaly

Kali Uchis

Amid national outrage over the recent death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, thousands of people have taken the streets to protest demanding justice for Floyd and other black citizens who have died in the hands of police.

Colombian-American songstress Kali Uchis was among the protestors who marched in solidarity with Black Lives Matter in Los Angeles the weekend of May 30. "All LATINX artists should want to support to this movement," Uchis tells Billboard. "This is centuries of oppression."

On social media, the "After the Storm" singer is also speaking out and demanding justice for recent cases of police brutality not only in the U.S. but also Latin America. The recent deaths of Afro-Colombian Anderson Arboledo, who was allegedly beaten outside his home by local police officers for breaking the quarantine curfew, and Giovanni López who was allegedly tortured and killed by police in Jalisco, Mexico for not wearing a mask have also sparked outrage among the Latinx community.

"I will continue to not post/release content at this time so Black voices are the most visible, & to amplify them to my stories & twitter," she wrote also including the name of 14-year-old Joao Pedro who in 2019 died at the hands of police in Brazil

After taking the streets to demand justice and police accountability, Kali Uchis shares with Billboard why it matters, more than ever, to stand in solidarity with the black community, and encourages the Latinx community to join the fight for justice.

Which protests did you take part in? 

Several Black Lives Matter protests, for anyone who would like to keep up with the movement you can follow: Patrisse Cullors-Brignac (@osopepatrisse), BUILD POWER (@bldpwr), & Grassroots Law Project (@grassrootslaw)

Describe your experience at the demonstration. 

People are going around with big gallons of hand sanitizer giving each other hand sanitizer, having stations for free water and free snacks. It’s been very peaceful. [And] people of color and black people removed several white people who were attempting to vandalize. The protests are completely PEACEFUL until police arrive and instigate/incite violence.

What does it mean to you as a Latinx artist to be involved in the Black Lives Matter protests?

All LATINX artists should want to support to this movement. This is centuries of oppression. Violence and colonization have played an immense part in our history as well. Many of us lean on U.S culture and U.S genres -- black people invented practically every U.S genre and are the root of most U.S trends and culture.

How do you encourage the Latino community to support the black community?

I encourage the Latino community to support the black community by amplifying black voices at this time, using our platforms to support Afro-Latinx artists and educate our family members about systemic racism.