We as U.S. citizens currently live in a country where it feels as though cops are mowing down young black men with the frequency of summer lawns on a warm Saturday morning. And no one appears to be immune from the epidemic. Not even children. As we have learned from the Tamir Rice case in Cleveland, Ohio, not even a 12-year-old little boy playing by himself in a park is beyond reproach.
The cases of; Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Michael Crawford, Oscar Grant and many others have taught us that once those who pull the trigger head to trial, (if they ever head to trial) they will most assuredly have one thing on their side…social media in all it’s forms.
Attorney’s nationwide are using social media and the mainstream media for that matter, to convict the victim based on statements, pictures or musical preferences that the victim had posted in the past.
They will stand firm in their decision to gun down citizens that did not pose a threat or that even had their hands in the air in surrender. They will refuse to recognize black or brown youth as the children they are instead opting for terms like “male” “young man” or even “man” to describe their victims.
Here’s an example in the video below in which a Cleveland Police Union Chief calls the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice justified. Take a look.
As troubling as it was to sit through that description of police actions used against Tamir Rice by Jeffery Follmer on behalf of the Police Union we find ourselves puzzled by something happening on the opposite side of the coin that might make outcomes like this one even more prevalent or dare we say accepted.
Take a look at the video below posted by a young rapper named Baby CEO.
While no one is suggesting we give up our 1st Amendment rights to say whatever we like, we do have a few questions to pose to the Hip Hop community as it pertains to the safety of our young men.
Any discerning adult who looks at this video should be able to see the potential problems emanating off of the screen because in reality if any one of these kids were gunned like dogs in the streets of their city, the first thing the police would point to would be this video and how they feared for their lives.
Fair or not, some attorney would stand in the courtroom and slap this up on the screen while asking if the kid appeared to be the kind, good natured boy the parents spoke of or a menace to society who got what he deserved by virtue of toting weapons and telling the world he wasn’t afraid to use them.
Even if the kid never harmed a fly, it would be of no consequence. Because this video exists, someone could potentially use it as a tool for the defense and in essence get away with murder.
We as the Hip Hop community must ask ourselves are we about music and art over everything…or safety over everything?
Because regardless of what we decide, if this little boy would be mowed down by cops or by another kid across town…this video would come in to play in the conviction of anyone opting to do harm to him were they to get caught.
Will we find the fortitude to answer it preemptively or do we have to wait until a news report confirms what we already knew? In the words of Black Sheep citizens…The Choice Is Yours.