#SayHerName: Celebrities Draw Attention to the Death of Nia Wilson in the Week Following her Fatal Stabbing

Illustration for article titled #SayHerName: Celebrities Draw Attention to the Death of Nia Wilson in the Week Following her Fatal Stabbing
Screenshot: ABC7 News

For many around the country, the brutal murder of Nia Wilson, an 18-year-old black woman killed last Sunday night at a BART station platform in Oakland, Calif., hit close to home.

Many of those affected by Wilson’s death are a number of celebrities who have used their respective platforms to mourn the young woman, and to draw attention to systemic racism and toxic masculinity.

Among those paying tribute on social media are Viola Davis, Lena Waithe, Common and Tracee Ellis Ross.


In a tweet, Davis wrote: “I’m getting tired of the heartbreak. Tired of needing to organize [rallies] to convince people that our lives matter.”

She added, “To the killer...I will NOT say your name. To Nia...we will shout yours from the rooftops!!!”


Common and Ellis Ross shared a video tribute to Wilson posted by rapper Chika Oranika.

“Our bodies and our humanity deserve safety and joy,” Ellis Ross wrote in a caption to the video.


In an Instagram post, singer and actress Janelle Monáe shared an illustration of Wilson, writing to the slain woman, “Your name means something to us and we won’t stop saying it .


Still others, like R&B singer and Oakland native Kehlani and actresses Rose McGowan and Anne Hathaway used their platforms to blast white supremacy and raised calls to action.


Wilson and her sister were both stabbed in the throat by a white man. John Lee Cowell, 27, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon and theft. Wilson’s sister survived the attack, which BART police described as a prison-style stabbing.

Cowell was recently released on parole from a two-year prison sentence for second-degree robbery. While BART authorities have called the stabbing “random,” many on social media are disputing that claim.


“Sending so much love to people born and raised in the bay area before this new wave of hate, racism, and gentrification... [shit’s] almost unrecognizable sometimes,” Kehlani tweeted in the aftermath of Wilson’s death.


“Indoctrinated hate is a weapon,” McGowan wrote in a caption under a portrait of Wilson. And actress Anne Hathaway went off on Instagram, posting a photo of Wilson alongside a paragraph-long call-to-action to white people to examine the role they play in institutionalized racism.


“White people—including me, including you—must take into the marrow of our privileged bones the truth that ALL black people fear for their lives DAILY in America and have done so for GENERATIONS,” the Ocean’s 8 star wrote.

“White people DO NOT have equivalence for this fear of violence,” she added.

Staff writer, The Root.

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`


Nia Wilson RIP