Originally published on CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero on 2020 06 21 by https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/21/us/hip-hop-black-lives-matter-trnd/index.html
Perhaps everyone wasn’t listening, but long before DaBaby did a
remix of “Rockstar” or LL Cool J
or J. Cole devoted his “Crooked Smile” video to
, rappers were trying to tell audiences about lives that mattered.
Since the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012, social justice shout-outs have been commonplace. Indeed, the ever-socially focused Dead Prez and Yasiin Bey cut “Made You Die,” a tribute to Trayvon — as well as
and others — weeks after Trayvon was killed. The teen’s name has been on rhymesmiths’ lips ever since.
But even before that — to reiterate — hip-hop has BEEN on this. As early as the 1980s, artists such as Public Enemy, NWA and KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions were tapping their influence to put the plights of African-Americans in the spotlight.
Here are 10 times rappers have called out those who fell victim to violence in America.
“This is to the memory of Danroy Henry, too much enemy fire to catch a friendly/Strays from the same shade, n***a, we on the same team, giving you respect, I expect the same thing.”
Henry, 20, a Pace University football player, was killed outside a restaurant in Thornwood, New York, after he allegedly hit Pleasantville police officer Aaron Hess with his vehicle, an accusation Henry’s family disputes. No one was indicted (Hess, in fact,
award), but a lawsuit targeting Hess and the Village of Pleasantville
Yusef Hawkins, Eleanor Bumpurs and Gavin Cato
“‘Cause we the people that are strong and able, remember Yusef onto Gavin Cato/Eleanor Bumpurs, Steven Biko, Huey P, murderers of Malcolm and death of brother King.”
Hawkins, 16, was killed when
in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn. Hawkins was fatally shot. Several members of the mob were sentenced to prison.
Bumpurs was killed during an eviction. A New York police officer shot the 87-year-old twice with a shotgun during a struggle. No one was convicted, but the city settled with her family for $200,000,
Cato, 7, was working on his bicycle when a driver fatally hit and dragged him. Cato’s death
. No one was indicted.
“Check your head for the new style, f**k Laurence Powell and Briseño, Wind and Koon pretty soon/We’ll f**k them like they f**ked us and won’t kiss ’em; riots ain’t nothin but diets for the system.”
Police officers were videotaped striking unarmed motorist Rodney King more than 50 times with batons. Though more than 20 officers were present, only four — Laurence Powell, Theodore Briseño, Timothy Wind and Stacey Koon — were indicted. The four white officers were acquitted the following year,
“And it don’t help seeing all my men get buried, we should’ve riot when them pigs killed Timothy Stansbury/Everybody’s on parole or probation or on the run or just caught court cases.”
in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood when a New York police officer opened a door and, startled by encountering Stansbury, fired his weapon, killing the 19-year-old. No one was indicted, but the city
, The New York Times reported.
Killer Mike on
“Wanna leave me dead on a mattress, Hampton/I’m a public enemy because I’m cold lampin’/And I don’t give a f**k about a party in the Hamptons.”
A leader in the Black Panther Party, the 21-year-old Hampton was in his bed when he was killed during an early morning police raid. Fellow Panther Mark Clark was killed as well. No one was charged. The city of Chicago, Cook County and the federal government settled with Hampton’s and Clark’s families for $1.8 million in 1982,
“Cops they transport me from Long Island to Medina with they f**ked up demeanor/Dreamin’ of stickin’ it to me like Abner Louima.”
Louima was arrested after a fight outside a club in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood. Officers beat him on the way to the station, and, continuing the beating at the station, New York officer Justin Volpe sexually assaulted Louima with a broken broomstick. Volpe
and received a 30-year sentence. Other officers were acquitted or saw their convictions overturned. One pleaded guilty to perjury. The city of New York and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association
“Say you shot at the man cause you thought he was strapped, but you killed a man cause you thought he was shooting back/Black America, what type of garbage is that? The police academy arming these fools with gats/If your reason was you thought he carry a gun, that mean you killed him for nothing, cause he ain’t have one.”
Bell, 23, and his friends were at a bachelor party at a Queens strip club on the morning of his wedding. Two friends,
and didn’t realize they were police, got in Bell’s car, and as Bell tried to drive away, the plainclothes officers opened fire, shooting 50 times, killing Bell and injuring his friends. The officers were acquitted. New York settled a lawsuit filed by Bell’s family and his two friends
“I put on for my city like Jeezy say, iron out my red flag for Free Weezy Day/And since they did Oscar Grant like Emmett Till, crack the Patron seal.”
A Bay Area Rapid Transit officer fatally shot the unarmed Grant, 22, as
at Oakland’s Fruitvale station. Officer Johannes Mehserle said he meant to fire his Taser, not his gun, and was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. He got two years in prison and served 11 months. BART paid settlements of $2.8 million to Grant’s mother and daughter,
“Enemy on the borderline, who’ll be the next to fire 41 shots by Diallo’s side?/You said he reached, sir, but he didn’t have no piece, sir/But now he rest in peace, sir, in the belly of the beast, sir.”
Diallo, 22, was confronted outside his Bronx home by four NYPD officers who were searching for a rapist. Diallo reached for his wallet, and the officers, who later said they thought he had a gun,
, hitting the Guinean street vendor 19 times and killing him. The officers were acquitted, but the city
“Y2K grand wizard Giuliani wasn’t done, bad boys, bad boys took Patrick Dorismund/Plainclothes asking him where to cop tree, shot him one time and didn’t have to flee/Well, yo, it was an accident, see? And once again the boys in blue got off scot free.”
An undercover New York police officer approached Dorismond looking to buy weed. According to police, Dorismond became incensed, a scuffle ensued and
to Dorismond’s chest. No one was indicted. The city later settled with Dorismond’s family for $2.25 million,