His ~level of concern~ is not that high. Twenty One Pilots singer Tyler Joseph is standing by his joke about “using his platform” for good after facing backlash from fans. In addition to “doubling down,” he also spoke out about mental health — and defending his decision to bring the issue up after fans asked him to support Black Lives Matter.

“This isn’t a notes app moment. I’m doubling down on my platform tweet. It was fantastic,” Tyler, 31, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, September 2. A few hours later, he added, “My tweet wasn’t [supposed] to be about human rights. So in case you are wondering where I stand: Black Lives Matter. I just wanted to take a moment to raise awareness about something else that has meant a lot to me for a long time, but now I see there is no room for that right now. I’m truly sorry if it hurt anyone.” He also shared a link to resources where people could sign petitions and donate money.

The musician first sparked controversy earlier in the day when he shared photos of himself wearing white platform shoes. “You guys keep asking me to use my platforms,” he captioned the pictures. “Feels good to dust these bad boys off.”

Fans had been asking the band to speak out against police brutality and racial injustice in America as Black Lives Matter became a national talking point over the summer. Many who saw the tweet were frustrated that Tyler chose to make light of the situation instead of using his following to amplify the movement. “It’s disappointing to see you joke about this, dude,” wrote musician Elliot Lee. “This ain’t it, dude!” added YouTuber Loey. “Maybe don’t mock your followers who want you to use your social platforms responsibly.”

A few hours after his initial tweet, the singer did choose to speak up — but he wanted to instead address an issue close to his heart. “Your own mental health should always be a priority. I’m amazed at how easy it is to forget that simple fact. It’s something that can sneak up on you, then eventually you check in on it and realize it’s in really bad shape,” he wrote. He added that he uses “humor” to cope when times are tough, writing, “I really don’t know if I can even handle everything that’s happening right now.”

In addition to sharing statistics about suicide, he also linked his followers to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “I respect all the warriors out there fighting for different causes. There is honor in it, purpose and it can make our world better. I just want to remind you what I’m fighting for: Your mental health is more important today than it ever has been. You’re not alone.”

While many of his listeners appreciated that he was finally “using his platform,” others felt that he was deliberately avoiding the topic they’d asked him to talk about — and further using his own struggle with mental health to shield him from criticism. “Talking about mental health, and caring for your own mental health is important. But talking vaguely about ‘other fights’ when you could take a stance? Name those fights, say you’re here for the Black community, say you abhor the mistreatment given to them by the police, say you value every fan, the Black ones, the transgender ones, the latinx ones? Say their lives matter,” one fan pleaded. “Is that too hard?”

For more information, visit BlackLivesMatter.com.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

 

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