Who Protects Us From You? Okayplayer Artists React To The Grand Jury Decision In Ferguson, MO
Last night the news arrived that no criminal charges would be brought against Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th. After a months-long investigation led by St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch, a grand jury deemed the case's evidence and testimony inadequate to justify a criminal charge. On Monday night, Darren Wilson was deemed a free man.
Nationwide reactions to Brown's killer walking free without even a trial included tears of sorrow and seething anger at what many took to be only the latest in a long and brutal history of racially-biased policing in America--a reaction that seems increasingly confirmed by the release of transcripts from the grand jury hearings, which lend credence to the commonly-held assumption that McCulloch did not seem to be seeking an indictment at all, certainly not with the same zeal prosecutors are expected to display when the person charged is not a police officer.
Photos and video of Brown's mother in agony flashed across cable news channels and social media, only to be quickly replaced by images of both peaceful protests and destructive looting, followed by police crackdowns all across Ferguson, as well as an eerie absence of National Guard or riot police in predominantly black neighborhoods, a discrepancy some take as a sign that those areas were left to burn.
Many of the musical artists Okayplayer covers have been very much involved with the events in Ferguson since Brown's shooting, sharing information and driving the conversation through their social media channels, speaking out eloquently by writing op-eds, and, in the case of Talib Kweli, Nelly, J. Cole and others, putting their Timberland boots on the ground in the streets of Ferguson themselves.
Following the news that Wilson will not be indicted, reactions from the Okayplayer community were once again swift and intense as numerous artists took to their social media accounts, expressing sorrow, anger, disillusionment and the need to organize and take action for the sake of a better future. Some got immediately involved in protests themselves. Below is just just a small collection of the responses to a justice system that has excluded and suppressed black Americans for centuries.
None— David Gold (@David Gold) 1416884416
None— David Phillips (@David Phillips) 1416887354
None— Woke GanG \ud83d\udd4a\ud83d\udc41\ud83d\udd4a (@Woke GanG \ud83d\udd4a\ud83d\udc41\ud83d\udd4a) 1416894551
None— Erica L. Ayala (Eye-Yah-La) \ud83d\udcaa\ud83c\udffd (@Erica L. Ayala (Eye-Yah-La) \ud83d\udcaa\ud83c\udffd) 1416895319
>>>Read on for more from Killer Mike, Nas, Questlove and others Q-Tip joins #Ferguson protesters in Times Square, photo via Okayafrica
\u201cWe need "spooks sleeping by the door" we don't just need black faces in high places. U really made it of just became a prisoner of privilege\u201d— Killer Mike (@Killer Mike) 1416885689
[Killer Mike also gave a long and passionate speech just before Run the Jewels took the stage in St. Louis Monday night.-ed.]
\u201c"You were put here to protect us, but who protects us from you?" - KRS One\u201d— Nasir Jones (@Nasir Jones) 1416884214
The Okayafrica Team ran into Q-Tip walking with protesters and leading the chant in Times Square, NYC. Watch via Okayplayer's YouTube:
facts. Une photo publiée par badgalriri (@badgalriri) le
\u201cSending my prayers out to the family and friends of Mike Brown. Praying for all the people out there in Ferguson. No justice out here!!!\u201d— Big K.R.I.T. (@Big K.R.I.T.) 1416885967
\u201cI'm heartbroken over the news of no indictment in Ferguson. Let's all pray for peace.\u201d— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell Williams) 1416885857
\u201cwoke up this morning with https://t.co/PbO9ajK5Mf as my disposition....but man my anger got me feeling https://t.co/gN9fLjhGRX boiling inside.\u201d— Plug 5. (@Plug 5.) 1416920837
\u201cThe system that instills & protects white supremacy wins again. Humanity loses...No justice. I pray for Mike Brown & his family. So sad.\u201d— Macklemore (@Macklemore) 1416883387
\u201cHistory, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. -Maya Angelou\u201d— Black Thought (@Black Thought) 1416920117
Stay tuned for more reporting on hip-hop's reactions to events both in Ferguson and all across the nation.