Musicians react to Atlanta-area shootings
[Photos via Trivium/Spotify, Japanese Breakfast/Spotify, Young Culture/Equal Vision Records]

Musicians show support for Asian community after Atlanta-area shootings

On Tuesday evening, three shootings at Atlanta-area massage parlors left eight people dead. According to NBC News, six of the eight people killed were identified as Asian women. After a brief manhunt, suspect Robert Aaron Long was arrested and later confessed to the attack. This random act of violence has sparked widespread concern and anger amid the surge of hate crimes against Asian Americans.

Now, numerous musicians are speaking out in support of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. On Wednesday, the hashtags #StopAsianHate and #StopAAPIHate emerged on Twitter as artists such as Trivium’s Matt Heafy, Japanese Breakfast vocalist Michelle Zauner, Young Culture vocalist Alex Magnan, Tom Morello, Best Coast vocalist Bethany Cosentino, Tegan And Sara and grandson among others used social media to address the shootings that took place.

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On Wednesday morning, President Joe Biden discussed the deadly Atlanta-area shootings. Although investigators are still trying to determine Long’s motive for the shootings, Biden said he understands the concern among Asian Americans following the attacks.

“Whatever the motivation here, I know Asian Americans, they are very concerned, because as you know I have been speaking about the brutality against Asian Americans, and it’s troubling, Biden said via NBC News.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Cherokee County sheriff’s Capt. Jay Baker noted that Long said the shootings were not racially motivated. According to Baker, Long told investigators he had a sex addiction and he saw the Atlanta-area massage parlors as a temptation he wanted to get rid of. Law enforcement officers also believe Long has previously visited the massage parlors he targeted.

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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, hate crimes against Asian Americans have been on the rise. Stop AAPI Hate is a coalition that tracks incidents of violence and harassment against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. According to the organization, nearly 3,800 instances of discrimination against Asians were reported this past year. However, Stop AAPI Hate believes the number could actually be much higher.

Last year, the United Nations published a report connecting the rise in hate crimes in the United States to former President Donald Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Business Insider, the UN report stated that U.S. authorities have “utterly failed to take the steps required to detect, monitor, and prevent racist and xenophobic incidents.”

Now, with the latest attacks in the Atlanta-area, many individuals are speaking out against the hate crimes that are continuing to happen in the United States. In a tweet, Trivium frontman Heafy calls for the end of attacks against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities while sharing his own personal story.

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“Where is your family from? What cultural background and ethnicity are you all? My mother’s family is from Japan, my father is from Ireland and England and then mix in a bunch more,” Heafy says on Twitter. “We are all from different places, but we all want and deserve the same: freedom and happiness and the ability to live and love. There has been a massive increase in racism and violence towards Asians and Pacific Islanders as of late.”

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Japanese Breakfast vocalist Zauner also took to social media this week. In a tweet, she addresses the misconceptions surrounding the AAPI community that have attributed to the rise in hate crimes. She also shared another tweet with screenshots of various responses to the Atlanta shootings.

“We are white adjacent until we are not,” Zauner says on Twitter. “Til someone calls us a chink or mocks an accent [or] claims we started this virus from eating dogs and bats, attacks our elders, targets and kills us. Dunno WTF it does to say stop AAPI hate, but it is important to acknowledge this is very real.”

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Young Culture vocalist Magnan posted a video message calling upon the music industry to band together in support of the AAPI community. He also tweeted out additional anti-Asian violence resources on where donations can be made, what petitions can be signed and more.

“Hello friends and family, I’m returning here today to speak on a recent surge of hate incidents against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities,” Magnan says on Twitter. “Over the last year, nearly 3800 hate incidences against the Asian community were reported in the U.S. It’s time to open the conversation of racism in America up again and continue to educate not only ourselves but each other. In particular, I’m asking the music industry to use your voices not only online, but in the real world. That goes for artists, listeners, publications, labels and anybody with a tangible voice. We need to band together to stand up against discrimination and hate in our communities not only AAPI people, but for all people of color, women and LGBTQ+ people.”

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Rage Against The Machine guitarist Morello has also reacted to the Atlanta shootings. On Wednesday, he retweeted a post from Angelo Guisado, a civil rights lawyer, that addresses the United States’ past treatment of the Asian community.

Guisado mentions the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan and the internment camps that occurred during World War II in his tweet. He also references the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 which prohibited the immigration of Chinese Laborers to the United States.

“Where was he radicalized?,” Guisada tweets in reference to Long. “Uhh the place with the chinese exclusion act, japanese internment, firebombed tokyo, hiroshima, flattened n. korea, slaughtered the innocent in vietnam and carpet bombed laos and cambodia, supported mass indonesian massacre, called covid the chinese vir.”

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Best Coast vocalist Cosentino has shared out a GoFundMe link that supports the AAPI Community Fund. So far, over $1 million has been raised for the cause. All donations will go towards initiatives including community safety and support for those impacted by violence. In a tweet, Cosentino also opens up about the racism bandmate Bobb Bruno has experienced over the years.

“As a white person in a band with an Asian American, I have firsthand seen the racism he experiences when we travel in (and out of) this country,” Cosentino tweets. “It makes me sick to my stomach. Humanity has the ability to be so much better.”

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DREAMERS also shared out the same GoFundMe link along with a #StopAsianHate tweet.

Tegan And Sara have also been showing their support for the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. On Wednesday, they reshared various tweets including one from Stacey Abrams. Abrams is a political activist who is credited for helping Biden and the Democratic party win Georgia during the 2020 elections. This is due to her organization Fair Fight Action, which significantly increased Black voter turnout. Her voting rights activism helped earn her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination this year.

“Our hearts are with the families of the AAPI women slain yesterday,” Abrams says on Twitter. “Hatred is infectious and cumulative-it begins w pejoratives about race and evolves into acts of unspeakable violence. We must do more than condemn. Our responsibility is to protect and defend. By word and deed.”

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grandson also shared out two tweets in support of the #StopAsianHate movement. Along with posting the hashtag, he also reiterated what white terrorism truly is.

“White terrorism is still terrorism,” he says on Twitter.

“Fuck racism forever,” he tweets. “#StopAsianHate.”

Sleeping With SirensNick Martin sent out a tweet about Baker’s response to the Atlanta-area accidents. In a press briefing, the police captain says Long was “having a bad day.” As a result, he acted out the three shootings on Tuesday night.

“This is a fucking disgusting and tone-deaf response to give in response to yesterday’s tragedy by the hands of a terrorist,” Martin tweets.

The GoFundMe page supporting the AAPI community is available here and more information on how you can help stop violence against Asian Americans can be found here.