George Floyd, who was killed during arrest in MN, was a Houston rapper and DJ Screw collaborator
The death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody on Monday, has ignited outrage and protests after video went viral of a white police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck before he went limp. Floyd told the unidentified officer he couldn't breathe, but his pleas were ignored. Four Minneapolis police officers were fired on Tuesday after the incident, which started when Floyd was detained on suspicion of trying to use a counterfeit bill at a convenience store, and protesters on Tuesday clashed with police who responded with tear gas. “Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey in a statement that the officer used an unauthorized move against Floyd. “For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense.”
Update: Associated Press reports that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is now calling for officer Derek Chauvin to be charged in the death of George Floyd. "I've wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?," said Frey. "I saw no threat. I saw nothing that would signal that this kind of force was necessary."
Floyd grew up in Houston and was a high-school athlete who went to Florida State on a basketball scholarship but left before graduating, returning to Houston and started making music as rapper Big Floyd. As Stereogum (and The Houston Chronicle) point out he rapped on mixtapes by Houston icon DJ Screw and was part of Presidential Playas who released Block Party The Album in 2000.
Houston rappers Trae Tha Truth and Lil Keke have paid tribute to Floyd, who had moved to Minneapolis in 2018 and spent time as a bouncer and truck driver. Floyd's death also caught the attention of major athletes like Lebron James, who posted a picture that references Colin Kaepernick's protests against police brutality and wrote "This is why [we kneel.] Do you understand NOW!!??!!?? Or is it still blurred to you?? #StayWoke." Floyd was also a childhood friend of former NBA player Stephen Jackson, who posted tributes on social media as well.
Several other musicians also paid tribute to Floyd, including Beyonce, Snoop Dogg, Cardi B, T.I., 50 Cent, Madonna, Garbage, Megan Thee Stallion, Ice-T, Ice Cube, Chance the Rapper, Talib Kweli, Diddy, 2 Chainz, Meek Mill, LL Cool J, Juicy J, Common, Ludacris, E-40, Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Ricky Martin, and more.
Read the many tributes and listen to some of Floyd's music, below.