In a hilarious but painfully true song posted to her Instagram page, actress Amanda Seales called out white celebrities who disabled the comments under photos of Ahmaud Arbery posted to Instagram.
For nearly two months, police and prosecutors refused to arrest Gregory and Travis McMichael, the two men seen on video chasing and shooting Arbery. But after a widespread social media campaign, Georgia officials finally decided to take action, arresting the two men last week.
Since the case gained notoriety, a number of white celebrities have jumped on board to support efforts to bring Arbery's killers to justice, posting his photo on their social media pages.
But Seales quickly noted that stars like Justin Timberlake disabled the comments under the photo, tacitly acknowledging that many of their fans may hold offensive views about the shooting and the general treatment of white criminals.
The comedian and actress is well known for keeping it 100 and kept it all the way real in the 3-minute song. She highlighted how white singers who make soulful music with white fanbases should let the world know how their fans really feel about the tragedy surrounding Arbery.
“This goes out to all the white celebrities…ya see I turned off my comments because I got tired of arguing with racists. But you know what? It’s your turn,” she sang.
"Turn On the Comments. Dedicated to @justintimberlake and the white artists showing "solidarity" posting about #ahmaudarbery but closing their comments/IG replies. Ain't no half steppin. This is how you ally. You get in the weeds with your fans who are also fans of racist rhetoric. #TURNEMON," she wrote on Instagram.
The post got nearly half a million likes and dozens of comments from other famous Black celebrities. Stars like LeLee Lyons, Bun B, Yvette Nicole Brown, Lalah Hathaway and others approved of the post.
"Turn on the comments. Let em’ talk to ya. It’s time for y'all to see who’s been following you. They gonna show you your true colors, Confederate Karen and her husband, red-faced Ken. See you ain't down just cause you posted a jpeg. Let them do the same thing to you that they do to us on the daily," Seales sang over a soulful beat.
"You use our rhythm, now come get a taste of our blues. Turn on the comments, then get nosey. Scroll through and tell me what you see. A whole lot of racists, a whole lot of privilege, saying, 'I don't see color' over and over and over and over again. You wanna be down, well let's see what you about," she continued.
While it was hilarious, it did highlight a particular issue with the brand of social media activism that dozens of white stars continue to put forward. Here are how some people responded to the song online.
While not everyone is a fan of the actress, dozens of people thanked her for calling out the closed comment section.
Y’all know I would never defend Amanda Seales but she’s absolutely right. If you’re white and are afraid of racist comments on your Instagram, then YOU need to get in there and talk to them. White people need to *actively* be anti-racist, not just put messages about allyship. https://t.co/3qo4klzLp1
— Preston Mitchum (@PrestonMitchum) May 10, 2020
Y’all find Amanda Seales annoying (and that’s okay). But please don’t allow your disdain for the messenger make you miss important mail.
— Globethotter ???? (@BrianMcLight) May 10, 2020
One fan even reproduced her own rendition.
— Because of Slavery (@amerikus_) May 10, 2020
The Insecure star performed the song over the 1979 Teddy Pendergrass' hit “Turn Off the Lights.” Most of the song is dedicated to getting white stars to engage more with their fans, who enjoy Black music as long as it comes out of white artists.