As the peacefully assembled citizens of Ferguson, Missouri and countless media outlets continue to battle with local police over the aftermath of Michael Brown’s unarmed shooting on August 9, Killer Mike and J. Cole have furthered their support with an op-ed column and a low-key visit to see what’s unfolding firsthand.
“We ain’t come down here to talk to no press,” Cole explained in a brief on-camera interview with Complex. “We came down here to feel it, ‘cuz this is history. We want to be a part of this just like everybody else want to be a part of this.”
When asked whether he feels more artists should speak out about the growing tension between officers and the public they’re supposed to protect not threaten, Cole said, “Artists owe whatever they feel. To each his own; this is what I feel. I ain’t gonna knock the next man for not doing it. Do I wish more did it? Yes … But everybody’s at a certain place with their life … Something happened that made me get to this place.”
Meanwhile, Killer Mike’s Billboard editorial reinforced some of the points he made public last week. “This week I have seen tanks, rubber bullets and tear gas used by police against the citizens that pay them,” he wrote. “This is not Egypt or Syria or Palestine, but today it feels that way. It feels as if death can come, without reason, from a uniformed government official and, if we do not press back against this Blue Wall of Silence and gang-like mentality of our local police, we all are in danger. Whether it is illegal rd stops & checkpoints, where your rights are being violated — through being forced to answer questions that the 5th Amendment protects you from, or illegal stop-and-frisk that the 4th Amendment is designed to protect you from — all of our rights are violated and in danger when any American’s rights are violated.
He continued, “As an American today I simply say: Enough! My rights are precious, and I value those provided to me through the United States Constitution so much. I will never take a day off policing the people we pay and keep a public trust with. I will use my camera, my pen, my pad and my network to do my part, to make sure that American will no longer fear their government or its employees. They work for us — not the other way around.”
For more of the music industry’s reactions to the Ferguson fallout, please read Marc Hogan’s post here. For Complex’s full J. Cole interview, check out the player below, which is available alongside the “Be Free” song he wrote soon after Brown’s death…