Though she’s about as far away as physically possible from the heart of the protests around the police-related death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd at her home in New Zealand, Lorde shared some of her decidedly mixed feelings about joining the now-global movement decrying the latest death of a black man at the hands of police in the United States in a weekend note to fans on her email list.

“I’ve been following this week’s events in the States from New Zealand. I also attended the peaceful protest in Auckland today to support the Black Lives Matter movement,” Lorde wrote in the email, which has the subject line “important.” The singer acknowledged that it was unusual to hear from her twice in one week during one of the typically self-imposed quiet periods between albums.

“One of the things I find most frustrating about social media is performative activism, predominantly by white celebrities (like me). It’s hard to strike a balance between self-serving social media displays and true action,” she added. “But part of being an ally is knowing when to speak and when to listen, and I know that white silence right now is more damaging than someone’s wack protest selfie.”

Her point, to be very clear, was: “This ongoing systemic brutality by police is racist, it’s sickening, and it’s unsurprising.”

As someone whose art has been directly inspired by (and “in conversation with”) hip-hop, the singer said that she feels it’s her responsibility to raise her voice. “I extend that sentiment to all my fellow musicians and producers who have tightened a snare to make it more trap, who’ve drawn a pattern of high hats in ProTools because they heard something similar in a hip hop song and it made them feel big and cool,” she said. “We have a responsibility to let our affected listeners know that we’re with them when it’s hard too, not just when it’s easy. Not just when we benefit. We see you, and we’re here.”

Admittedly still figuring out the nuances of speaking out on such matters, the 23-year-old singer said she’s at work trying to understand how to be an activist outside the gaze of social media. “Numbers at protests and mass gatherings speak loudly, hopefully lead to eventual legislative change, so I do that. Money helps concretely, paying things like bail funds to free unjustly held activists, so I do that,” she said, admitting that she isn’t yet comfortable attaching links to posts asking for donations because she’s not sure what people’s financial situations are at the moment.

So, in the meantime, she’s going to use some of the money she’s earned from fans to make her own donations for now. The note ends with a plea to her “black and brown listeners,” to whom she said, “I’m so sorry this is your reality, that you haven’t had a choice but to be defined by this, to give it your energy. I’m aware of that tax on you. I hope white people you know are doing what they can to ease your load. And I really, really hope systems will change to better protect you.” The post ends with the phrase Black Lives Matter.

Lorde’s note came amid calls for “accountability immediately” from Travis Scott, for the media to cover “peaceful protesting” and an end to some of the looting and arson that has accompanied protests from coast-to-coast from Killer Mike. Over the weekend, a large number of celebrities, including Grande, Nick Cannon, Halsey, MGK, Lil Yachty, J. Cole, Tinashe, Chika, Yungblud and many more joined protest marches across the nation.

See Lorde’s full note below.

Hello again,

I know what you’re thinking — “Two notes in two weeks? Who is she?!” You probably weren’t expecting to hear from me for another few months, but I can’t ask for your attention one week and go silent on something like this the next. So here goes.

I’ve been following this week’s events in the States from New Zealand. I also attended the peaceful protest in Auckland today to support the Black Lives Matter movement. One of the things I find most frustrating about social media is performative activism, predominantly by white celebrities (like me). It’s hard to strike a balance between self-serving social media displays and true action. But part of being an ally is knowing when to speak and when to listen, and I know that white silence right now is more damaging than someone’s wack protest selfie.

So let me be clear: this ongoing systemic brutality by police is racist, it’s sickening, and it’s unsurprising.

As someone who has made art directly inspired by and in conversation with hip hop, it’s my responsibility to let you know that I’m here. I extend that sentiment to all my fellow musicians and producers who have tightened a snare to make it more trap, who’ve drawn a pattern of high hats in ProTools because they heard something similar in a hip hop song and it made them feel big and cool. We have a responsibility to let our affected listeners know that we’re with them when it’s hard too, not just when it’s easy. Not just when we benefit. We see you, and we’re here.

I’m still learning the nuances of all this. I’m still working out how to practise activism while refraining from social media. Numbers at protests and mass gatherings speak loudly, hopefully lead to eventual legislative change, so I do that. Money helps concretely, paying things like bail funds to free unjustly held activists, so I do that. I don’t feel completely comfortable posting donation links asking you for money – I don’t know what kind of financial situation you’re in right now. It’s on me to use my resources — resources you gave me, directly or indirectly — to donate on your behalf.

To my black and brown listeners —
I’m so sorry this is your reality, that you haven’t had a choice but to be defined by this, to give it your energy. I’m aware of that tax on you. I hope white people you know are doing what they can to ease your load. And I really, really hope systems will change to better protect you.

Black Lives Matter.

L

https://www.change.org/p/mayor-jacob-frey-justice-for-george-floyd