"Justice for Freddie Gray" is the rallying cry heard across the nation following the death of the 25-year-old Baltimore man while in police custody. Jussie Smollett, Beyonce and Wale are the latest stars to get behind the plea for a change. The celebs join a long list of people who've used their platform to amplify a message and stand up for what they believe in. From Stevie Wonder to Jamie Foxx and Alicia Keys, take a look at the celebrities using their status to call for change, beyond entertainment.
As protests for Freddie Gray continue flaring up across the country, Beyonce spoke out on Instagram, asking that people support those whose lives have been affected by the Baltimore demonstrations right after she shared TIME magazine's powerful cover. "People are hurting," she wrote, linking to an NAACP donation page. "Join us in supporting the NAACP to help in the cleanup efforts and to provide housing, food and supplies to those affected by the unrest in Baltimore."
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'Empire' star Jussie Smollett was on the front lines of a protest this past weekend following the death of Baltimore man, Freddie Gray. Gray, 25, was in police custody when 80 percent of his spine was severed ultimately causing his death. Many gathered in Baltimore to protest the incident and demand answers. Here, Smollett joins the Justice League of New York in their 'March2Justice.'
The D.C.-born rapper paid a visit to a Baltimore high school earlier this week to sit down and have an honest conversation with students about their feelings toward the unrest surrounding Freddie Gray. "This is your opportunity to organize how you're going to change the system and the structure, and that's what you got to figure out," he told students before marching with them down to city hall.
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A longtime supporter of Trayvon Martin's family, Jamie Foxx revealed he was disappointed in the verdict and expressed his commitment to helping Sybrina Fulton get justice for her son. "She's always been courageous in saying this has never been about race. She said it's about 17-year-old kids. We have to protect our kids. So I stand with her forever," Foxx said during an appearance at Comic-Con.
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In response to the Trayvon Martin verdict, legendary singer announced his refusal to perform in Florida until the Stand Your Ground law is overturned. "I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again," he said during a Quebec City performance.
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The gospel duo joined Stevie Wonder in his efforts to boycott the state of Florida following George Zimmerman's acquittal. "We will stand with Stevie Wonder & boycott Florida until the Stand Your Ground Law is changed," the pair wrote on their Twitter account. "We love our fans but we MUST do something. We understand that a No from us isn't as big as a 'No' from Stevie Wonder, but if all our voices join together we can REALLY change things."
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Beyonce and Jay-Z
Beyoncé and Jay-Z attended the National Action Network's 100 City 'Justice For Trayvon' Vigil in Manhattan following the verdict announcement. "They didn't come her for a photo op," said organizer Rev. Al Sharpton. "Jay-Z told me, 'I'm a father. Beyoncé is a mother.' We all feel the pain and apprehension." Beyoncé also asked for a moment of silence at a Miami concert in honor of Trayvon.
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Oprah’s charitable reach extends to Africa, where her Angel Network has created the Seven Fountains Primary School in South Africa, provided $1 million in school supplies to impoverished students, and provides books to needy kids in countries such as Russia and China.
The Tom Joyner Foundation has raised over $50 million for Historicially Black Colleges and University’s. The syndicated talk show host recently offered Trayvon Martin's friend Rachel Jeantel a full scholarship to the HBCU of her choice.
Sheryl Lee Ralph
Sheryl Lee Ralph created The Diva Foundation to help raise awareness and help fund HIV/AIDS awareness to honor those who’ve lost the battle.
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Simmons' Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation is dedicated to giving disadvantaged young people in America the opportunity to practice and appreciate art. He's also been a staunch advocate for justice for Trayvon Martin. "This is not "only" about race," he tweeted the night of Zimmerman's verdict. "This is about laws that allow racist acts to go unpunished. We must change laws that promote injustice."
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Halle Berry works very closely with the Jenesse Center, which helps women who are affected by domestic violence.
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Through the Magic Johnson Foundation, both Magic (who is HIV positive) and Cookie have worked tirelessly to create awareness the prevention surrounding HIV/AIDS.
Steve and Marjorie Harvey
Steve Harvey and his wife Marjorie focus on education and child development through the Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation.
Gabrielle Union lends her support to raising awareness about rape and the fight against breast cancer.