The untimely shooting death of Trayvon Martin occurred on February 26th, but his story has only been dominating the headlines of major news outlets since Monday.
The Florida teen died at the hands of alleged neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman, in a small gated Florida community.
Over the weekend there was an explosion within social media, which has propelled the shooting of Trayvon into the national spotlight. Change.org recently released a petition calling for Zimmerman’s arrest, which is now the fastest growing petition in Internet history, according to the website, which aims to promote social change through the use of online petitions. Their petition has already amassed more than 800,000 signatures.
In the wake of these types of tragedies, the public often looks to Hollywood heavyweights to use their celebrity status to rally their followers and build momentum for a cause. A few of black Hollywood’s elite have shown support for Trayvon, but an overwhelming majority have not.
Spike Lee and Wyclef Jean signed the petition on Change.org and tweeted a message to their followers.
Sunday, Spike Lee tweeted “PLEASE Retweet to your followers. Sign the petition to demand justice for TRAYVON MARTIN here,” with a link to the Change.org website.
Wyclef Jean took to Twitter on Monday to rally support for Trayvon Martin from his more than 2 million Twitter followers, saying, “Trayvon Martin a 17 yr old murdered by a person who remains free, he was unarmed killed for his skin color! Warriors let’s go to work!”
Oprah has taken part in a steady dialogue with her more than 10 million Twitter followers this week discussing her desire to know the truth about why Trayvon Martin was shot.
In response to one of her followers who preferred Oprah interview Trayvon’s family, she said “anyone who’s lost a loved one knows their pain. I’d interview them too, but want the eyewitnesses & Zimmerman.”
Business mogul and hip-hop icon Russell Simmons tweeted a message to his followers last week calling for a larger conversation around the Trayvon Martin murder case.
“Trayvon Martin didn’t die so we can create a race war, he died so we can promote better understanding. We must start honest dialogue,” Simmons said.
Though many of black Hollywood elite have joined the cause seeking justice for Travon, there are several high profile stars that have remained silent on the matter. Celebrities such as Diddy, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kanye West, Denzel Washington, Brandy, Monica, and Rick Ross have yet to lend their names in support of Trayvon.
With each day that passes, support of justice for Trayvon Martin builds, so hopefully we will see more of black Hollywood speak up.
Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC