Last night a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri refused to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown. The black teenager was gunned down in August, and his death has sparked protests across the world. Once again, musicians are collecting their voices against police brutality and the racist system that protects it.
After the jury's decision and during the resulting rage that swept through Ferguson's protests, Killer Mike and El-P took the stage at St. Louis's Ready Room to promote RTJ2, their second album as Run The Jewels. Before the show a choked up Killer Mike spoke on the decision.
"Tonight, I got kicked on my ass when I listened to that prosecutor," said Mike as El-P stood silently besides him. "I have a twenty-year-old son and a twelve-year-old son and I am so afraid for them."
But Killer Mike also tried, as he has done for months, to turn Brown's death and the aftermath into a teachable moment. "It is not about race, it is not about class, it is not about colour, it is about what they killed him for. It is about poverty, it is about greed, it is about a war machine that uses you as a battery."
A video posted by okayafrica (@okayafrica) onNov 11, 2014 at 8:50pm PST
I screen shot this image months ago. Artist unknown. It moved me for many reasons. One being ....brokenness. Today I feel a sense of brokenness on behalf of my people. Black people. Everyone expresses differently. I respect all forms and shapes of expression. I respect those who don't see this as a matter of black and white, who think "unity and peace" will save us all from this, who's optimism in the heart of the gut wrench still seems to have a place...Although I feel differently, I respect it all. We were not molded here, to all be molded the same......My words are like aimless shapes and figures at this time. Trying to find a place to go, something to hold on to, to make "sense" of this all. But the one thing that's been concrete in my heart is my will to want to express something to my friends. To the people I love, who love me, who feel pain in this moment just as I do, but who do not feel pain in the way that I often do in many walks of life. Who might feel I talk about race too much, that it's consumed me, who I've distanced myself from....because it's true, I can't a joke. When I told a friend of mine I was making an album about race, his response was...."Just make it fun". I would like him to think about it now. We are not Michael Browns family, but we are Michael Browns family. We don't hurt like they do, but we do hurt. Hurt like hell. Thing about my people though....we don't stay broken. We get up. We put the pieces together when there aren't even pieces to pick up.......and we will......again and again and again.
A photo posted by S A I N T R E C O R D S (@saintrecords) on