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Friday, August 22, 2014

Artists Takes a Stand for Mike Brown

As I scrolled through my Twitter feed this morning, I realized that the Ferguson, Mo. protest and riots were no longer trending. The uprising was sparked by the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer. Brown was unarmed.

After the death of Brown hit social media I came across a painting done by Demont Pinder on Instagram. Brown’s eyes pulled me right in. Pinder captured the essence of a young boy who was ready to take on the world yet there was still a hint of uncertainty in his eyes.  

Pinder wasn't the only artist that paid homage to Brown. To help get into the hearts of those in the Black community who were directly affected in Ferguson, several entertainers wrote songs dedicated to slain the teenage boy. 

According to, hip-hop artists started to put their creative talents to work only after being called out by BuzzFeed for not doing enough. To be honest, I didn't realize it was their responsibility to keep the Black community calm in the racially divided and disturbed suburban town.

Nevertheless, songs were written. NPR’s music critic Ann Powers, called J. Cole’s tribute ‘Be Free’ as “the first fully formed protest song I've heard addressing the death of Mike Brown.”

Lauryn Hill also released the track, ‘Black Rage.' Despite the fact that she has been performing this song for nearly two years, the lyrics bring cultural awareness of what’s going on in cities like Ferguson.

(Podcast supplement: Things I Tell My Black Son)

Killer Mike turned to his pen and pad and wrote an op-ed for Billboard expressing his views on Ferguson and Mike Brown. 

“I have chimed in about the brutality that killed this child, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, and so many others. It's shameful, but these are not simply words to commiserate; these words, I hope, serve as a wake-up call to all Americans. Our rights are being violated by people we pay daily. This must end, or every American has failed.” - Killer Mike

A wake-up call indeed! People around the world are watching, and taking notes on how Americans stand up for each other. That’s just it…no one takes a stand beforehand. They only take a stand once young black men are gunned down or strangled to death on the streets by law enforcement or neighborhood crime watch. We only see people taking a stand after a young black man is stretched out on the sidewalk filled with bullet wounds to the chest… by then it’s too late.

Now that the protests and riots have simmered down in Ferguson, Mo., I hope that Black communities around the nation will take a stand. I hope Black communities will start to teach future generations the following:

  • How to speak to law enforcement
  • How to act around law enforcement; and 
  • How to follow their gut instinct if something doesn't feel quite right if and when a police officer approaches them. 

I hope that all communities from all races will come together and push for equality and not wait for another killing to happen before coming together in protests and riots.

I hope that all communities around the nation will take a stand and push for better training of law enforcement. Weed the bad cops out and recognize the good cops.

We shouldn't be afraid of the police. After all, the police are here to protect and serve. Right?

Do you know someone who is taking a stand in your local community? E-mail your comments to or leave them below. Or share your views on Twitter @TCsViews

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