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US celebs star in racial justice video

Associated Press Associated Press 14/07/2016

Alicia Keys and a host of other stars, including Beyonce, Bono, Rihanna, Taraji P. Henson and Chris Rock, have appeared in a powerful video that describes "23 ways you could be killed if you are black in America".

The video made the social media rounds after its release on Wednesday on, spawning its own hashtag, 23Ways, and thousands of shares and comments.

In black and white, it juxtaposes 23 artists with photos of 23 black victims of violence, with each star noting the acts that led to their deaths, mainly after interactions with police.

Many of the deaths led to intense anger and frustration among African-Americans, and kicked off protests that grew into the Black Lives Matter movement.

In an interview on Wednesday, Keys said she was inspired by a story earlier this month written by Jamilah King under the headline: "23 Everyday Actions Punishable by Death if You're Black in America".

It was written after Alton Sterling was killed by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after an altercation caught on video by a bystander.

The story's approach, listing everyday things like laughing, sitting in your car, attending a birthday party, was Keys' call to action.

Keys said it was easy to round up enough of her famous artist friends to hit the 23 mark.

"Each and every person I reached out to responded so quickly," she said. "They were feeling exactly how I'm feeling and they were just ready."

Pink, Bono, Janelle Monae, Adam Levine, Common, Queen Latifah, Kevin Hart, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Hudson and Keys' husband Swizz Beatz are among the other artists to appear.

Keys and her We Are Here organisation call at the end of the video for signatures on a petition demanding President Barack Obama and congress to work for "radical transformation to heal the long history of systemic racism so that all Americans have the equal right to live and to pursue happiness".

In a few hours, the online petition had nearly 50,000 signatures.

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