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Let Them Rest: Grief in the Public Eye

BY: JAYDA HINDS

The death of Kobe Bryant left millions of people expressing their grief on social media. Celebrities, influencers, and fans used Twitter as an outlet to have conversations about his passing.

We have seen Bryant on our television screens for years, worn his jersey on our backs, and were watching his daughter follow in his footsteps–– and through these experiences, we have felt like we got to know him. So much so, that some may even feel like they have authority over the dialogue about his death. 

Friends and family of Bryant have been pressured into speaking about his passing by his fans, even when they weren't ready to. His friend and fellow NBA player, Lebron James, posted about Kobe's death on Instagram just one day after his passing. He begins his statement with, "I'm not ready but here I go…" 

View this post on Instagram

I'm Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn't think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we'd have. WTF!! I'm heartbroken and devastated my brother!! 😢😢😢😢💔. Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I'll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation💜💛 and it's my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here! There's so much more I want to say but just can't right now because I can't get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Lifeâ¤ï¸ðŸ™ðŸ¾ #Gigi4Lifeâ¤ï¸ðŸ™ðŸ¾

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Jan 27, 2020 at 6:43pm PST

It was general knowledge to any NBA fan that Bryant and James were close friends. So, in the wake of his passing, NBA fans were expecting a statement from James–– not only because of the two's friendship but because of his star-status.

Celebrities are often just seen as bodies made solely for entertainment. Because of James' stardom, people did not associate him as a real human being, who is grieving, but rather a famous basketball player who knew Bryant. Ariana Grande received the same treatment from her fans during Mac Miller's passing. They wanted to hear a statement from her about Mac, as soon as the news broke out regarding his death. 

Social media has sped up the process of how we receive news. We can find out tragedies almost as soon as they happen. TMZ was the first news outlet to report on Kobe Bryant's death, informing the general public before his own family. The quickness of the news though, should not mimic how fast others respond to said "news".

The fast-paced media, and the "fans" that come along, can take away the emotional aspect of a story by demanding others to speak about tragedies. Celebrities mourn just as long as we do. As people who take up space on social media, we have a social responsibility to allow these celebrities to have as much time as they need before they speak about the death of a loved one.


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