Since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot to death August 9, multiple celebrities have spoken out about the ensuing protests and police aggression in Ferguson, Mo. Rappers Killer Mike and Talib Kweli have both been especially vocal on Twitter—and both took their perspectives from the internet to news shows this week.
Killer Mike, whose father was a policeman, went on CNN Wednesday to talk about how police officers have changed over the years. “We have essentially gone from being communities that were policed by people from the communities to communities that are policed by strangers, and that’s no longer a community,” he said. “That’s a community under siege.”
The rapper acknowledged that Brown, who’s been tied to a robbery that occurred right before his murder, wasn’t perfect. “This was a child that had done childish stuff,” he said. Still, Killer Mike added, that didn’t in any way justify his murder: “No one could go to bed at the night of finding out about this young man’s murder, comfortable that a child had been shot up to or more than six times in a defensive position.”
After how many Americans perceive black men as “thugs,” anchor Brooke Baldwin gave Killer Mike the chance to clarify what he means when he calls himself a “gangster rapper.”
“ ‘Gangster rapper’ is just code word for I say harsh stuff, real and brutal stuff, just like my dad saw on the streets when he was a cop,” Killer Mike answered. “But at the end, I offer some type of resolution.”
Also on Wednesday, Kweli called into MSNBC from Ferguson to talk with anchor Joy Reid and Grey’s Anatomy actor Jesse Williams about the situation there. “I was told that I was going to have my head blown off, I had guns pointed in my face,” Kweli said of his Tuesday night on the streets of Ferguson. “I want to stress to people that there was no looting, there was women and children there protesting peacefully and the police acted aggressively.”