Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter’s Pride Summit and Pride Prom opened with a strong call for “every single one of us” to stand up against racism and police brutality, with Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors reminding participants in the digital summit that Stonewall was started by black queer and trans activists, and the “police played such a terrible role” in the landmark uprising that kickstarted the modern LGBTQ equality movement.
After Cullors’ opening statement, singer and activist Shea Diamond used her astonishing voice to convey a related message musically with her song “Don’t Shoot.” The highly personal narrative follows Diamond’s life, running away as a teen (“Had enough when I was 14 / I ran away so I can foster my dreams / but I didn’t have the knowledge the streets was too much”) and ending up in prison before turning 20 (“Locked me up when I was 19/ there goes my twenties and there goes my dreams”), decrying the industrial prison complex as “modern slavery.”
On the chorus, Diamond digs deep, making a bone-chilling plea: “Hands up please don’t shoot / we’re living in a world where they can’t take truth / they say they don’t see color but the blood stains show the proof.”
You can watch Diamond’s indomitable spirit on “Don’t Shoot” here. Shea Diamond is also the host of Billboard’s Pridecast; you can listen to recent episodes featuring Pose star Billy Porter and Drag Race All Stars winner Alaska on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.