Drake and John Legend Among Stars To React to Alton Sterling and Philando Castille Police Shootings

Drake
Drake arrives for the premiere of the movie 'Get Hard' at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California, March 25. The rapper has written an emotional plea following the deaths of two black men in separate police shootings. MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty

Rapper Drake has published an open letter to protest the deaths of two black men in separate suspected police shootings.

Alton Sterling and Philando Castille died within 24 hours of each other, on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, leading to the Black Lives Matter movement being reignited.

In a moving letter published on his Instagram page early Thursday, Drake responded to the death of Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He said the death left him "disheartened, emotional and truly scared."

"I'm concerned for the safety of my family, my friends and any human being that could fall victim to this pattern," the letter continued.

Addressing the Twitter trend #BlackLivesMatter, he added: "It's impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago. No-one begins their life as a hashtag. Yet the trend of being reduced to one continues."

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Although many stars have spoken out about the latest spate of police-related deaths, there is perhaps no black musician better positioned to lend their name to the plight at present. Drake's resonance with his audience has seen his latest album Views continue to break chart records, recently logging a ninth week at No.1 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

Drake's cultural influence in 2016 is rivaled only by Beyoncé, another star who used her latest album Lemonade as a creative outlet to highlight the Black Live Matters movement. Her "Formation" music video, released in February, heavily criticized the police and celebrated features typically associated with black people such as a "negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils." The singer's visual album, released in April, also featured the mothers of slain teenagers Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin holding pictures of their sons.

Drake was joined Thursday morning by a host of entertainment figures, including singer and activist John Legend, in expressing outrage at the latest police-related deaths of Sterling and Castille.

An impassioned Legend, whose civil rights-themed song from Selma, "Glory" with Common, won Best Original Song at the Oscars in 2015, wrote an impassioned series of tweets:

We should not have to jump through hoops to prove black people shouldn't be shot by police during routine traffic stops.

— John Legend (@johnlegend) July 7, 2016

We have fucking video proof and some of you still are all "well, uh, he shouldn't have moved his left leg so provocatively".

— John Legend (@johnlegend) July 7, 2016

So many people work so hard to find a reason why executing a human being during a routine traffic stop is ok. IT'S NOT OK

— John Legend (@johnlegend) July 7, 2016

Game of Thrones ' Podrick actor Daniel Portman wrote:

I'm disgusted. Sort your shit out, police. You're meant to be protecting people, not murdering them. When does it stop? #blacklivesmatter

— Daniel Portman (@Daniel_Portman) July 7, 2016

Olivia Wilde said:

Those who fight for the right to carry concealed weapons are surely furious about Sterling's murder, right?? NRA protests outside Police HQ?

— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) July 6, 2016

He had a right to sell CDs, and a right to due process, but he he was shot for being a black man. Don't rationalize murder. #AltonSterling

— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) July 6, 2016

Comedian Rashida Jones wrote:

I can't wake up to another innocent black man gone. Police reform NOW. Please @potus. #blacklivesmatter #howmanymore #PhilandoCastille

— Rashida Jones (@iamrashidajones) July 7, 2016

Orange is the New Black star Matt McGorry said:

White people who believe #BlackLivesMatter : simply being outraged does NOT ACTUALLY MAKE black lives matter. We must take action.

— Matt McGorry (@MattMcGorry) July 7, 2016

If every white person who tweets #BlackLivesMatter woke up tomorrow and took consistent actions to end racism, we would be much closer.

— Matt McGorry (@MattMcGorry) July 7, 2016