By Natasha

 photo Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 3.23.18 PM_zpsazvke0ob.png

Since the mysterious death of 25-year-old black male Freddie Gray while he was in police custody on April 19th, the city of Baltimore has been on fire. Literally and figuratively. And celebs, politicians, and even gang members are giving their two cents and some change on the issue. Check out what folks are saying inside…

The death of Freddie Gray, who died due to a severed spinal cord injury while in police custody, is still masked in mystery. NewsOne reports:

Gray died of a severed spinal cord April 19, a week after police chased him on foot, arrested him, and placed him in the back of a police van. In a Friday press conference, Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said the young man should’ve received medical treatment after the arrest.

It’s still unclear how Gray sustained the severe injuries. Video of Gray’s arrest shows him screaming in pain as officers place him under arrest. Several witnesses said police “folded his body like origami.”

This latest incident of police brutality seems to be the the extra dose of heat that caused an already tortured city to have tempers boil over. For the last few days, protestors have taken over the streets of Baltimore. And things have gotten REAL. While many media outlets are using certain rhetoric to pain a certain picture — like “riot” and “thugs” and the likes — PLENTY of citizens are fighting back and telling the true story of what’s happening. Yes, pharmacies and neighborhood businesses were set on fire, hundreds of people are expressing outrage in the streets, cop cars have been st on fire, and the like. If you watch mainstream media, you would think that is the ONLY picture of what is happening in Baltimore right now. And plenty are condemning the “violence” occurring.

Actually, there are more peaceful protestors than not (of EVERY race and color, not just blacks like mainstream media has portrayed), gang members have unified to stop the violence currently occurring, volunteers are stepping in to clean up the debris in their communities, and so much more. And plenty of people are voicing their concerns about why the main focus is HOW people are protesting….instead of being equally, if not more, outraged that a life was seemingly taken at the hands of police.

Activist and actor Jesse Williams broke down the frustrations of the disenfranchised Baltimore residents in a series of tweets:

David Banner, also an outspoken actor and activist, gave an interesting take via Twitter as well:

People criticize riots but benefit off of past uprisings daily. They are the ones crushing our spines but we beat our kids.

And what’s crazy is – they called this a war and I didn’t see one shot fired. I’d say that is discipline. Shoot cop can’t do that!

Slave rearing – break the young bucks – keep them docile – (fight the damn cops when they kill innocent kids.)

Applaud these kids for having the balls to do what we wouldn’t. Stop beating them in public like the police.

If we as grown ups did a better job our kids wouldn’t have to be in the streets doing what was supposed to have been done in the 60’s.

Baltimore native Jada Pinkett Smith addressed the frustrations of her hometown in a Facebook post, in addition to calling for peace:

Baltimore!

I know we are angry, I know we want to be heard. We want answers, we want justice but most of all we want the corrupt systems of authority in our neighborhoods that continually steal the lives of people of color and the underprivileged to be revealed and rectified. But we must do our part. Today, I see that violence begets violence making it difficult to differentiate the victims from the perpetrators. Violence creates a window to vilify the victims, even in the deepest recesses of the most condolent mind. Nonviolence creates a clear view to who the offenders of justice really are. Don’t give the very system that has been using violence to terrorize and exterminate us any justification to use that very violence upon us to keep us in order. This is a time of self-discipline so that the true offenders of justice can be revealed.

Stand down so that justice and the preservation of our communities are the priority and have the opportunity to prevail.

Baltimore-raised NBA star Carmelo Anthony pleaded with citizens to ind a different way to express outrage:

We all want Justice. And our city will get the answers we are looking for. My deepest sympathy goes out to the GRAY Family. To see my city in a State of Emergency is just shocking. We need to protect our city, not destroy it. What happens when we get the answers that we want, and the media attention is not there anymore? We go back to being the same ol Baltimore City again. If not yourself, then Think about the youth. How this will impact them. Let’s build our city up not tear it down. Although, we want justice, let’s look at the real issues at hand. For example, When was the last school built in Baltimore? That’s just one example. I know my community is fed up. I’m all about fighting for what we believe in. The anger, the resentment, the neglect that our community feels right now, will not change over night. Continue, fighting for what you believe in. But remember, it takes no time to destroy something. But, it can take forever to build it back up. Peace7. #Thisonehitshome #BeMore #LetsNotFallForTheTrap “Please Understand What State Of Emergency Mean”(Destroy and Conquer)

He was criticized by some for not focusing, instead, on people being rightfully outraged about what is happening in the long time tortured city. Especially when an understandable feeling of hopelessness is pervasive in the community.

Retired Baltimore Ravens Superbowl champ Ray Lewis tweeted:

While reports spread like wildfire yesterday that “gangs” were teaming up to crate a “Purge night” to harm police (similar to …read more