Could his death in police custody be the trigger that brings on sweeping reforms and palpable change in race dynamics? For now, a look at some of the ways people and companies have responded to massive protests and outrage in the US and beyond.
The killing of George Floyd on Memorial Day has prompted an outcry in the US, and around the world, over police brutality and systemic racism.
The incident captured on video saw Derek Chauvin, a white policeman, pressing his knee into the unarmed black man’s neck – a deadly eight minutes and 46 seconds in which other officers watched without intervening.
The killing triggered massive protests, calls for defunding the police and a rewriting of race relations.
In the words of Floyd's 6-year-old daughter Gianna: "Daddy changed the world."
Less than three weeks after Floyd’s death, there are some signs of a potential societal shift.
Shows and movies pulled off
The outrage has forced media companies to take a closer look at their programming.
Oscar-winning Civil War epic "Gone with the Wind" was pulled from the HBO Max streaming service and reality TV show "Cops" was cancelled as America's reckoning with systemic racism extended to its popular culture.
AT&T Inc's WarnerMedia, which runs HBO Max, acknowledged "Gone with the Wind” is a product of its time but that it "depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society."
The 1939 film will return to HBO Max with "a discussion of its historical context" and a denouncement of racist depictions, the spokesperson added.
The Paramount Network, a cable TV channel owned by ViacomCBS Inc, removed "Cops" from its schedule. The show debuted in 1989 on the Fox network and was considered a pioneer of reality TV as it followed real-life police on the job.
But it came under criticism as glorifying law enforcement without any footage of police brutality.
To be silent is to be complicit.— Netflix (@netflix) May 30, 2020
Black lives matter.
We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up.
Netflix also reportedly removed The Mighty Boosh and The League of Gentlemen because of their use of blackface.
Little Britain was removed from Netflix, BritBox and BBC iPlayer for similar reasons.
Britain’s Channel 4 removed Bo Selecta while Netflix also removed four other shows from its New Zealand and Australia services over an Australian's frequent performances while wearing brownface.
CrossFit founder steps down as CEO after Floyd tweet
CrossFit Inc founder Greg Glassman stepped down as chief executive after his tweet comparing Floyd to Covid-19 drew enough backlash to push Reebok into ending its ties with the patented fitness regimen.
Glassman resigned during a Zoom call in which he reportedly questioned whether racism is a big enough problem and if he and his employees should mourn for Floyd because “it’s the white thing to do.”
NFL admits 'We were wrong' over player protests
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted the league had been wrong to silence player protests as it responded to calls from a group of players to issue an explicit condemnation of racism.
Goodell said the league would now support peaceful protests from players in future.
NFL superstar Colin Kaepernick's take-a-knee protest has become an emblematic expression of solidarity adopted during demonstrations which have rippled across the globe.
The NFL tweeting about what happened with George Floyd is the equivalent of when the CIA recognizes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. Loved him so much y’all helped to kill him. Get outta here with the bullshit.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) May 30, 2020
Kaepernick had begun kneeling during the anthem in August 2016 in order to draw attention to racial injustice following the deaths of several unarmed black men during confrontations with police.
He was let go by the San Francisco 49ers in early 2017 and has not played a minute in the NFL since.
Thx to your support we've expanded the @yourrightscamp legal defense initiative nationally to defend arrested Freedom Fighters. We're also working to file civil rights cases against police for their terroristic acts. Keep fighting back! https://t.co/rfMgwzGz65 #wegotus pic.twitter.com/dgryYFx8qo— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) June 3, 2020
American football repeals anthem kneeling ban: official
The United States Soccer Federation has scrapped a controversial policy banning players from kneeling during the national anthem.
In a statement, US Soccer said the rule introduced in 2017 was wrong, and reflected a failure of the federation to address the concerns of black people and minorities.
The USSF rule mandating that players must "stand respectfully" during the national anthem was introduced three years ago.
It came after women's team captain Megan Rapinoe knelt during the anthem in 2016 in a gesture of solidarity with former NFL star Colin Kaepernick.
NASCAR bans Confederate flag from its races, venues
NASCAR, the world's largest governing body for stock car racing, said it will ban the display of the Confederate flag from all of its events and properties.
For more than 70 years, the Confederate flag was a common and complicated sight at NASCAR races. Through the civil rights era right on through the season opener at Daytona in February, the flag dotted infield campsites and was waved in grandstands by fans young and old.
The issue was pushed to the forefront this week by Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s lone black driver and an Alabama native who called for the banishment of the Confederate flag and said there was “no place” for it in the sport.
Reddit founder (Serena's husband) quits board, seeks black member
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian — who is better known as the husband of tennis star Serena Williams — called for his seat on the board of the company to be given to a black candidate.
Ohanian said in an online post that he resigned from the board of Reddit, which he co-founded 15 years ago.
He vowed to use any future gains on his stock in the enterprise to serve the black community, predominantly by curbing racial hate.
Ohanian also pledged a million dollars to former NFL star Colin Kaepernick's Know Your Rights Camp.
Merriam-Webster to change its definition of racism
Kennedy Mitchum, a recent graduate of Drake University in Iowa, contacted American Merriam-Webster, which has published its dictionaries since 1847, to propose updating the term to better reflect the oppression of people of colour.
Merriam-Webster's editorial manager Peter Sokolowski confirmed the definition would be modified after Mitchum's request.
Sokolowski said one of its three definitions of racism touches on Mitchum's point, but that "we will make that even more clear in our next release."
One of the dictionary's editors told Mitchum that the definitions of other words "related to racism or have racial connotations" would also be updated, without specifying which ones.
From the ashes: down with the statues
The anti-racism demonstrations sweeping across the United States and Europe have reignited a debate on removing monuments commemorating slave owners, colonisers and Confederates.
Statues of Christopher Columbus from Boston to Miami have been beheaded and vandalised.
Italian explorer Columbus, long hailed by school textbooks as the so-called discoverer of "The New World," is considered by many to have spurred years of genocide against indigenous groups.
Protesters tore down a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis along Richmond, Virginia's famed Monument Avenue.
More than 1,000 protesters converged on a college at Oxford University to demand the removal of a statue of 19th century British colonialist Cecil Rhodes.
A statue of a 17th-century slave trader was also toppled by anti-racism protesters in Bristol, England, and later dumped into a nearby harbour.
A local authority in southern England also said it would remove a statue of Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the worldwide scouting movement.
Statues of Belgium’s Leopold II, the notorious king of the Belgians who held Congo as his personal property and may have been responsible for the deaths of millions of Congolese more than a century ago, were defaced during protests in half a dozen cities across the country.
Leopold is increasingly seen as a stain on the nation where he reigned from 1865 to 1909. Demonstrators want him removed from public view.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also called for removal of 11 Confederate statues from the US Capitol, as part of a nationwide push to dismantle such memorials.
READ MORE: Will Black Live Matter now?
But is it enough?
Responses like those by NFL or Netflix are being seen as hypocritical or arbitrary.
Black Lives Matter's UK organiser Joshua Virasami argues a political movement not statements of solidarity are key to meaningful change.
George Floyd's death can be a catalyst for real change. His killing by a white policeman can change the world and given momentum to a movement that has been seeking an end to racial inequalities and systemic injustices for decades.
Anti-racism movements simmering globally are pushing to ensure the killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and others lead to lasting reforms and a restructuring of social contracts. But whether political leaders will rise to the challenge is still not known.