Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, and Others Pay Tribute to Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau

Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Many celebrities have joined a chorus of voices honoring the life of 19-year-old activist Oluwatoyin Salau, who was found dead after going missing for over a week.  

Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau was a protester and freedom fighter, known for her powerful speeches and her passion for positive change. On Saturday, her body was found along with another victim in Tallahassee after she went missing for more than a week. 

As millions around the world grieve the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks, Salau’s death came as another sharp wound. Salau was only 19, and she spent her last weeks fighting for a better world. 

Many celebrities and civilians alike have been moved by Salau’s story. Some have shared their grief and admiration for Salau on social media with the hashtags #RestInPower and #JusticeforToyin.

Kerry Washington tweeted that she was praying for Toyin and that she would continue to say her name. 

Chloe x Halle wrote “rest in power queen,” captioning two of Salau’s characteristically artful, intimate portraits. 

Gabrielle Union and Kehlani also paid their respects on social media. Union wrote heartfelt paragraphs about Salau’s youth and courage. Kehlani wrote that we must work harder to prevent the unjust deaths of Black women who fight for others but don’t receive the same support.

 

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She was 19. 19. 19. A baby. Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau was a 19 year old warrior who fought for US. She reported her sexual assault to police and days later was found murdered. The horrors she faced, the trauma she endured, all by 19 years old. Who cares for little Black girls, Black teens, Black women? Toyin deserved so much more. She fought for so much more for all of us. I can’t shake it. I am her and she is me. I am alive to talk about surviving my rape at 19. She is not.. The work continues. The fight continues. The reckoning will continue. Toyin should be here. She was 19. A baby. Hold our babies tight. Love them. Protect them. Support them. 19. #BlackLivesMatter #AllBlackLivesMatter #JusticeForToyin

A post shared by Gabrielle Union-Wade (@gabunion) on

 

 

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after fighting on the frontlines endlessly for Black lives, Oluwatoyin Salau tweeted a detailed description of being sexually assaulted by a man who offered her a place to sleep. she was seeking refuge from abuse at home. shortly after tweeting her experience, Toyin went missing for days. last night they found her body. you see the direct outcome of your lack of support for women, especially Black women, who need help? who need protection. who need to be believed. i’m talking to you, the person who’s immediate response to a woman coming out about assault with disbelief, interrogation, mockery, “why now”, “you want clout”. to those that scroll past Black women’s goFundMe’s titled “trying to escape my abusive home” by CHOICE, not because you don’t have the means to help. this is for you, the family member who silently watches assault take place IN YOUR FAMILY and does absolutely nothing about it (by choice). i’m talking to you, the person that remains friends with/stands by/supports abusive men… y’all will defend your rapey ass friends till the death. accuse women of deserving it. of asking for it. they couldn’t have possibly BEEN ASSAULTED. this is for all of us, Toyin’s story is tragically the story of way too many we don’t know the names of. ones we pass on the street everyday. we really have to do fuckin better at supporting eachother. Toyin’s life could’ve been saved at home. Toyin’s life could’ve been saved when she escaped and needed somewhere to stay. we ache for you, Oluwatoyin Salau. say her NAME. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE IF THIS APPLIES TO YOU AND STRAIGHTEN THE FUCK UP.

A post shared by Kehlani 🧿 (@kehlani) on

While social media posts won’t stop the violence and heartbreak Black communities face every day, raising awareness about people like Salau is an essential step towards justice. 

Rest in power, Toyin.