First off, our condolences to the Brown family...
"Dear Hip-Hop, we can't scream 'murder, misogyny, lawlessness' in our music & then turn around and ask for equality & justice."
Sounds blunt and bold, right? But what was he really implying? Was he blaming Hip-Hop Music for society's ills? Absolutely not! Especially when you consider the fact that he uses Hip-Hop music to convey a positive message.
So what IS he implying? And more importantly, what does this have to do with the horrific events that had transpired in Ferguson, Missouri, which has, again, caused the United States to reflect and ponder on racism in this country?
First, some back story into this tragedy. On Saturday, August 9, 2014, unarmed African-American male named Michael Brown was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer. He (Brown) was only 18 years old.
As you have been seeing these last two weeks, not only has this event caused social unrest, rioting, looting and a society (and country) at sheer division, but also has, once again, caused anger and division over the motive of this horrific event. And, like other tragedies before, people look for people to blame.
In this case you have two sides: the group siding with the innocence of Michael Brown and the group siding with Officer Wilson. Those siding with Brown assert that the Police force of Ferguson has had a history of corrupt officers with hidden racial prejudices against the African-American community. Defenders of Officer Wilson state that Wilson was acting in self-defense and only doing his duty as an officer.
And then the question comes down to a situation a race: was Michael Brown killed because of his race? Did Officer Wilson have hidden racial prejudices? Why did the officer shot Brown 6 times? Was it to protect himself? Or was it motivated by racially-charged anger?
Or the more universal question: Why Michael Brown?
Most of these questions would be asked and discussed in an air of civility. But instead the opposite is happening: reaction and violence against a perceive injustice.
Now, such reactions rooted in anger is, of course, normal. If we see someone in school getting picked on by bullies, naturally we will become angered and want to do something about it to help the victim out and to bring proper justice to the situation. But then what if, instead of relying on authorities, teachers and/or parents, you take matters into your own hands and proceed to beat up those bullies. Some would justify such an action as "justice" - i.e. "those [idiots] deserve to get beat up and punished for attacking the [victim]!" or "for causing ME pain!" Others would rebuke this and call on the helper to refrain from making said situation worse. This is the "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" view, in other words, REVENGE.
Though revenge is a VERY human emotion and occurs everywhere in varying degrees of people and situations, no where greater is this continuously promoted than here -- The United States of America. And no other music genre is this GREATLY emphasized than in Hip-Hop Music. Our Hip-Hop culture is IMMESNLY embedded in the concept of "getting back" -- if someone robs you, rob them back, if so-and-so causes you pain, give them back pain 10 fold, if a crazy guy murders your family and a wise person begs you to forgive that person (as in, do not return vengeance withvengeance), screw that wise person, take matters into your own ego and return the murder with the murder of the crazy guy.
Thus returning to the "Dear Hip-Hop" quote from Lecrae: as much as we protest, cry and scream for equality and social justice, we surly don't promote that aspect in the Hip-Hop culture or American culture for that matter. Basically, revenge sells because it provides a vain entertainment for the self-gratification of the human pride and ego. All the while movies, films, etc about mercy and forgiveness are often pushed to the wayside and are completely forgotten.
In all honesty, our view of this incident is that this situation is NOT only a race issue.... it is a HUMAN issue.
It is with this spirit of righteous peace that we not only humbly ask the people of Ferguson AND the Ferguson police force, but ourselves as well, to not only recognize the destructive damage of revenge, but to also remember the power of mercy, forgiveness and understanding. President Obama had often said that situations like in Ferguson could be used as "teachable moments" rather than moments of vengeance.
We pray with a spirit of justice that should there be ANY police officer, white or black, or a police department with racist tendencies and prejudices, that the appropriate actions be taken to discipline and/or remove them from their duty so as to do NO harm to anyone, regardless of race. We hope for more security measures to ensure that the proper justice be administered to keep safe the peace.