The absurdity that is the Met Gala
At an event that raised more than a few million for the museum, BLM protestors found themselves tackled to the ground and arrested just outside.
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On the evening of Monday, Sept. 13, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio walked the star-studded red carpet at the Met Gala, the exclusive annual fundraising event for the city’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.
While the luxurious and extravagant outfits stole the show, outside the gala, NYPD officers arrested multiple Black Lives Matter protesters, who were calling to defund the police department whose budget de Blasio oversees.
According to the Daily Mail, a flyer from the demonstration identified the participants as an “autonomous group of NYC abolitionists who believe that policing does not protect and serve communities,” and hashtags on Twitter identified them as “#FireThemAll” protestors.
Huge crowd of 'BLM' protesters gather outside NYC's The Met just as fashion's biggest night kicks off at the gala— Lilian Chan (@bestgug) September 14, 2021
Police detain demonstrators attending a BLM protest at the Met Gala 2021 on Fifth Avenue in New York pic.twitter.com/NozNPliug3
"The NYPD has a total financial allocation of $11 billion per year. This money goes towards racist policing that destroys Black and brown communities while people who are struggling do not get the resources they need. CARE, not COPS, is the answer," the flyer read.
Very little has changed in regards to public policy surrounding police reform. Following the murder of George Floyd and months of massive racial justice protests, Democrats have quietly shelved the George Floyd Police Reform bill that would have made radical amendments to policing.
Rather than defunding the police and redistributing that money into services that could benefit marginalized communities and in turn, reduce crime, de Blasio raised the budget for the NYPD to $5.13 billion, $230 million more than before the Summer’s uprisings.
Cell phone video footage captured shows the crowd gathered outside the gala chanting “Black Lives Matter,” and calling the name of Mike Rosado, a 24-year-old man from the Bronx who was fatally shot by plainclothes police officers in August.
Police Murder Mike Anthony Rosado in New York City l Left Voice https://t.co/oEjURLZbY7— fuseboxradio (@fuseboxradio) September 10, 2021
At least two dozen police officers were seen rushing towards the demonstrators, tackling people to the ground and carrying them away in zip-tie handcuffs. Later that night, many protesters moved their demonstration to outside the NYPD’s 28th precinct, where some of their fellow protesters were still being detained at around 9 p.m.
One protester, Ella Dior, marched up and down the street in a pink dress and white boots, sharing a passionate message through a microphone as a group of supporters looked on. Ella called out the absurdity of the Met Gala charging $35,000 for a ticket to show off one’s wealth and clothing while people are being murdered.
’Wearing a ‘Peg the Patriarchy,’ ‘Tax the Rich’ doesn’t do anything for us’ — Activist Ella Dior is speaking out after getting arrested during a Met Gala protest pic.twitter.com/3vlsie1Lj0— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 17, 2021
“We cannot go back to normal. There are millions of dollars going to this museum. We demand free housing! We demand all political prisoners to be freed! We demand justice for our people,” Ella said.
Many people on Twitter pointed out the “Hunger Games” energy radiating from juxtaposition of the fancy Met Gala event and BLM protesters being arrested just outside.
nothing embodies the american theme like only hearing about the sparkly outfits rich people wore to the met gala & not hearing about protests & arrests that happened outside of it. hunger games vibes for sure https://t.co/Y6Z4OjwsU5— cass (@flosplaneta) September 15, 2021
For a lot of Twitter users, seeing more coverage of rich celebrities flaunting their lavish clothing and hardly any about the BLM protesters who were arrested for speaking out for community safety felt dystopian.
“Nothing embodies the American theme like only hearing about the sparkly outfits rich people wore to the Met Gala and not hearing about protests and arrests that happened outside of it. Hunger Games vibes for sure,” wrote one Twitter user.
“The Met Gala has strong Capitol Citizens from the Hunger Games energy. In the middle of a pandemic, with wealth inequality at an all time high, we’re watching rich people peacocking as ‘entertainment’,” wrote another.
Outside of a high-profile event where celebrities were donning outfits that pay homage to American independence and fashion, people were fighting for their rights in a country that has continuously endangered the lives of many people in marginalized communities.
Actress and activist Indya Moore, who was in attendance at the Met Gala, released a statement following the protest, saying that they will most likely not attend the event again.
“This will probably be my last Met Gala. I am going to think long and hard about why I came and if it is truly in alignment with what I want to accomplish in life,” Moore wrote.
“We organize millions for a museum, on stolen land that Black and Brown people suffer on unless white supremacy thinks they are exceptional ― but not for the people?” they said.