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Alicia Keys, Beyoncé's Dancers Comment on Mario Woods Case During Super Bowl Gigs

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Beyoncé performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California  (Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)

As the nation’s attention turned to San Francisco this past weekend and the festivities surrounding Super Bowl 50, some performers used the national stage to comment on a local tragedy: the fatal shooting of Mario Woods by San Francisco police officers back in December.

Woods, a 26-year-old African American from San Francisco, was shot 15 times by a group of police officers while he was holding a knife. A suspect in a stabbing reported earlier, officers said they fired upon Woods because he lunged at the officers. Multiple videos of the incident at different angles were released not long after the incident and contradicted the officers’ statements.

The shooting prompted protests by local activists and last week, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would be conducting a review of the San Francisco Police Department over its use of force practices.

On Saturday, Alicia Keys opened her set at Levi’s City Stage in San Francisco’s Super Bowl City by commenting on the Woods case, expressing support for those protesting against the police’s actions:

I want you to know that I salute everyone who has the courage and conviction to stand for what’s right. I want to thank you for your commitment to making sure justice is done for Mario Woods. As the mother of two black sons it breaks my heart to see what we’ve been seeing, the trouble’s we’ve been seeing on camera, and all the people that we’ll never see.

Watch the video of Keys’ speech below:


The next day, some of the dancers who performed with Beyoncé during her Super Bowl Halftime Show were recorded on video holding a sign that read “Justice 4 Mario Woods” by someone with Black Lives Matter Bay Area.

For their performance with one of the most successful recording artists of our day, the dancers wore Black Panther Party-inspired uniforms. Started in Oakland, the Black Panther Party celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. (February is also Black History Month.)

The dancers were a prominent feature when Beyoncé sang “Formation,” the single she dropped released the day before the Super Bowl.

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