UPDATED 3/16 at 10:40 p.m. ET: Samaria Rice released an official statement Tuesday night, reiterating her criticism of certain high-profile activists. It was a joint statement with Lisa Simpson, the mother of 18-year-old Richard Risher, who was killed by the Los Angeles Police Department officer in 2016. The women specifically called out Tamika Mallory, Shaun King, Benjamin Crump, Lee Merritt, Patrisse Cullors, Melina Abdullah, and the Black Lives Matter Global Networking, demanding them to “step down, step back, and stop monopolizing and capitalizing our fight for justice and human rights.”
“We never hired them to be the representatives in the fight for justice for our dead loved ones murdered by police,” the statement read. “These ‘activists’ ave events in our cities and have not given us anything substantial for using our loved ones’ images and names on their flyers … We don’t want or need y’all parading in the streets accumulating donations, platforms, movie deals, etc., off the death of our loved ones, while the families and communities are left clueless and broken. Don’t say our loved ones’ names period!”
Writer Rebecca A. Wilcox shared the statement via Twitter, following a conference call with Rice and Simpsons. Wilcox also laid out the mothers’ demands in a thread.
See original story below.
The performance, which debuted deep into Sunday night’s ceremony, opened with a depiction of police brutality featuring actor Kendrick Sampson. Mallory appeared later in the performance, as did Killer Mike of Run the Jewels.
In a Facebook post (notably from an account previously cited in reports from People, Insider, and others as belonging to Samaria Rice), Samaria shared a clip of the Mallory portion of the Grammys performance.
“Look at this clout chaser,” she said. “Did she lose something in this fight i don’t think so. That’s the problem they take us for a joke that’s why we never have justice cause of shit like this.”
Samaria also addressed her problems with the performance, and with the prevalence of such examples of what some have criticized as the commodification of those who were killed due to police brutality, in a number of additional posts on Sunday and Monday.
“FUCK A GRAMMY WHEN MY SON IS DEAD,” she said in one post. “FUCK ALL PIGS COPS.”
In another, she again mentioned Mallory, as well as seemingly calling out recently prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump.
“Tamike [sic] and the crew you bitches chasing clout along with Sonney, Crump, and Lee,” she said. “Y’all have literally fuck our fight up i hope not another family soul used y’all to represent them. Y’all might as well be junior pigs cops… I’m mad [as hell].”
In a statement shared alongside the performance’s debut (and prior to Samaria’s criticisms), Lil Baby detailed his intentions behind the Grammys performance.
“My performance is important to me and I had to make sure it was right,” he said. “Nominations aside, actually performing ‘The Bigger Picture’ means the most to me. I paint pictures with my songs and wanted the performance to bring that picture to life. Just like with the song, this performance had to reflect the real. No sugar-coating. My family, my fans and my city know who I do this for.”
Tamir Rice was killed by white Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann in November of 2014. He was 12 years old. In December of last year, the Justice Department said it would not bring federal criminal charges against Loehmann and partner Frank Garmback. In a press release, the department said it had notified counsel for Tamir’s family and had also sent a letter to the family detailing their decision, which they claimed was brought on by “insufficient evidence” supporting federal charges.
Two months prior to that announcement, a New York Times report form Charlie Savage and Katie Benner said the department had effectively (and quietly) “shut down” a civil rights investigation into the police killing of Tamir Rice more than a year ago.