Kehlani calls out celebrities for ‘embarrassing’ silence on Gaza – as Ariana Grande and Katy Perry speak out

Kehlani calls out celebrities for ‘embarrassing’ silence on Gaza – as Ariana Grande and Katy Perry speak out

Kehlani has blasted fellow celebrities for their “silence” over the ongoing war in Gaza, in a scathing post that has sparked a flurry of action by her peers.

The “Nights Like This” musician posted the video on Monday (27 May), in which she called out “highly platformed” people who interact with her pro-Palestine social media posts in private but do not say anything in public.

The 29-year-old said she had lost “any ounce of f***ing respect” for the artists who she reports regularly reached out to her for collaborations.

While she did not mention any names, the speech appears to have had its desired effect as prominent stars including Ariana Grande, Katy Perry and others shared posts to their social media pages for the first time, within hours of Kehlani’s.

Calling out people who had “beat the f***ing game” by achieving high levels of success, she criticised: “You can’t stop for a second and recognize that nothing we do has a f***ing purpose without people and you can’t turn the f*** around and reach back for people? You can’t speak? Disgusting!”

It comes after Israel launched a missile attack that set fire to an encampment in Rafah, an area for displaced people that had previously been designated a “safe zone”. The assault killed over 45 people, leaving hundreds injured and came days after the International Court of Justice ordered the country to halt any operations in the area.

Footage from the aftermath of the attack, including as Kehlani noted of “beheaded babies” and “people burnt alive”, led to widespread outcry forcing Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to acknowledge the attack as a “tragic mistake”. It led to a viral AI image of the Rafah encampment to be shared over 45 million times in what appears to be a record.

Israel defended its action and justified the operation by reporting that Hamas had been operating in the area, launching rockets from between tents.

 (Instagram @kehlani)
(Instagram @kehlani)

“Hollywood could change so much. Artists could influence so much. It’s so disorienting and tragic and embarassing and lame and sad to watch it all unfold this way. The silence is so loud,” Kehlani continued in her Instagram stories.

Hours after the posts, Ariana Grande shared a fundraiser for humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza which reportedly led to an extra £40,000 raised for the charity in question, while Katy Perry shared a statement from Unicef, also shared by David Beckham. Dua Lipa, who has previously been vocal about the issue also shared a post condemning the attack in Rafah.

Pressure on celebrities to speak out on the issue has increased, particularly after a viral TikTok trend #CelebrityBlockout2024 appeared to push stars including Lizzo to take a stance as the military action enters its eighth month.

However, some have suggested that industry pressure could be deterring some from speaking after Melissa Barrera was allegedly fired from Scream 7 over pro-Palestine posts.

Meanwhile, others including Bridgerton actor Nicola Coughlan have continued to speak out in support of the rights of Palestinians, with Bella Hadid paying homage to her roots in a nod to the cause with a Keffiyeh dress at the Cannes Film Festival.

But Kehlani suggested that those whose opportunities would be affected should look again at their integrity and values.

“Money you could lose by speaking out about a genocide isn’t money you should value,” she continued. “Any deal company, brand, magazine, platform, label that says f*** you for you saying f*** a genocide isn’t where you wanna be, it isn’t what you wanna align with.

“Yeah, it’s a hard pill to swallow but a genocide is a harder one.”

The singer announced a new single “Next 2 U” which will be released on Friday (31 May). Merch will also be available with 100 per cent of proceeds going towards Palestinian, Congolese and Sudanese families.