Unfortunately, unarmed young minority men being killed by the police is not news. But since Trayvon Martin's death two years ago, there seems to be more attention being paid to these events by the media. The latest shooting took place in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th. And like deja vu, it involved another unarmed black teen. Michael Brown was walking with a friend Dorian Johnson on his way to visit his grandmother. It is alleged that Brown and Johnson robbed a store (without a weapon) moments before his death. The officer that stopped them was not aware of this when he came across Brown and Johnson. They were being stopped for "blocking traffic" since they were walking in the street of a residential area. They were blocks away from their destination. Brown was shot 6 times (4 in the right arm, 1 in the eye and 1 at the top of the skull).
I know that music isn't going to magically fix all the issues in the world, especially when it involves race. And I am not saying that emcees like J Cole are heroes for making songs that bring awareness to the problem. It is the outreach and actions they take that will be their legacy. But it is refreshing to see hip hop once again being the voice of the people and making issues from "our streets" public to the rest of the nation. J Cole's single Be Free is a very simple piano instrumental with no real rapping. Instead Cole sings in a very emotional/raspy (almost drunk) tone. He addresses his fears and hopes and questions why these events are becoming more prevalent in society. The BITM crew sends its prayers and condolences to the Brown and Johnson family, and all those affected by the death of young Michael Brown.