On Thursday, 15-year-old Alabama teenager Nigel Shelby died by suicide. The young man, an aspiring performer and fan of stars like Ariana Grande, Kehlani and others, was the target of significant bullying for being gay.
In the wake of Shelby’s death, a number of celebrities took to social media to express their sadness and anger over the teenager’s death. Justin Bieber posted a headline about Shelby’s death on his Instagram, writing, “I hate this with a passion.. stop the hatred please! I don’t understand how people can be so ignorant and hateful.” Janelle Monáe admonished parents who turn a blind eye to the actions of their kids. “The kids some of you are raising and teaching or NOT TEACHING did this,” she wrote. “They bullied him. Let that sink in.” Kehlani, who Shelby admired, simply wrote, “I love you Nigel Shelby beautiful beautiful boy.”
The news of Shelby’s death was further reported after Madison County Deputy Jeff Graves was placed on administrative leave for a homophobic rant he wrote in a now-deleted Facebook comment following the teenager’s death. “Society cannot and should not except [sic] this behavior,” he wrote. “I have a right to be offended and will always have a right to be offended by this fake movement.”
After reports came out surrounding Shelby’s death, the boy’s mother, Camika Shelby, sat down with NBC News to speak about her son, saying that she hoped his death illuminates the ever-present problem of bullying in schools. “When kids are struggling with their own identity, if they’re going through stuff already and you have other kids who are making them feel bad about themselves, it has an even bigger impact than if they weren’t struggling with those things,” she said.
Read the tweets from various celebrities mourning the death of Nigel Shelby below:
— Janelle Monáe, Cindi (@JanelleMonae) April 23, 2019
i love you Nigel Shelby beautiful beautiful boy. ——
— Kehlani (@Kehlani) April 23, 2019
Say his name. Nigel Shelby. https://t.co/MdFigcH4ZD
— Tyler Glenn (@tylerinacoma) April 22, 2019
My heart breaks for #NigelShelby. I don’t have much else to say. We owed him so much more.
— deray (@deray) April 23, 2019
My heart breaks for Nigel and his family. We have to build a world where LGBTQ kids feel loved and affirmed in their identities. We honor Nigel by fighting for such a world every day. https://t.co/Wf8p3Sghjd
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) April 24, 2019