Among the rappers who have visited Ferguson, Missouri following the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown are J. Cole and Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli. Kweli has live-tweeted throughout the protests and even detailed the moment a police officer told him that he would “blow your brains out.”
Following the encounter, the New York City wordsmith appeared on CNN with news anchor Don Lemon to discuss his experience in Ferguson. He revealed that while he does appreciate Twitter as a social medial outlet, he feels there isn’t an impact if people aren’t present in the city.
After speaking on why he chose to travel to Ferguson, Kweli then criticized CNN for “doing a horrible job” with their coverage. Following his remark about CNN, the rapper and Lemon began to go back-and-forth about CNN’s coverage.
“I’m on Twitter often,” Kweli said. “I love Twitter, but the retweeting and everything it doesn’t have an effect without bodies on the ground. Without flesh. And people actually showing up. Twitter movements. Even the movement in Egypt…Without the people on the ground actually here there is no story. So, as an artist I wanted to put my money where my mouth is. I’m supported by the community. A community that’s been brutalized. I have a son that’s Mike Brown’s age. Mike Brown was into Hip Hop. It could happen to me. It could happen to you. I felt like it was important to be here and control the narrative because the media’s been doing a horrible job of making sure the stories get out in the right way.”
Later in the interview, Kweli again addressed the incident in which he was threatened by a police officer, and spoke on CNN’s reporting of what happened during the incident.
“On CNN.com right now you have a story up that says ‘Ferguson calm until bottles fly,’” he said. “Well, that’s inaccurate because I was there that night. And that’s not what happened. The first thing it says in the story is ‘Police chase down men’…I saw the bottle fly. You know when the bottle flew? After the cops told me they were gonna flow my effin’ head off.”
Kweli recently addressed his interview with Lemon in a tweet sent earlier today (August 21).
I have respect for Lemon. But I dont care whether he knows/greets me or not. Just didn't think he should've got away w saying he invited me
— Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) August 21, 2014
Another artist who appeared on CNN this week to share their thoughts on the happenings in Ferguson and the death of Mike Brown, was Atlanta rapper Killer Mike. He began his conversation by speaking on what he feels is the current militarization of police officers.
“Police see the worst of human behavior a lot more than they see the best. And I think it beat him up as a really young man,” Killer Mike said when asked about his father, a former cop. “I think he left for those reasons. And having more children. And I really—Friends of mines whose dads were police officers. Some of their dads were killed on the jobs. It’s not an easy role…The culture of policing is changing. It’s becoming more militarized. They’re getting old military weapons. They’re using kids that are fresh out of the military and using military tactics. We have essentially gone from being communities that were policed by people from the communities to being communities that are policed by strangers. And that’s no longer a community. That’s an area that’s under siege.”
In addition to comments from Killer Mike and Talib Kweli, rappers Bad Lucc and El Prez also discussed Mike Brown, Ferguson, and police brutality during an appearance on Home Grown Radio.
Video of all three interviews can be found below.