Hip hop let me down this week.
On Monday, America was stunned by a viral video of a 16 year old female student getting violently arrested by South Carolina sheriff's deputy named Ben Fields. In the shocking clip, the student is flipped out of her chair and dragged on the floor. Yes, this happened to a CHILD. A black child.
After first viewing this disturbing video, I waited for well-respected hip hop figures to take to their social media accounts and voice their horror and frustration. However, it's been four days now--and nothing.
Hip hop has always been the voice of unheard, inner city people. So where is it now? A young student was tossed out of her class like she wasn't a human being, and yet the hip hop community is strangely silent.
When Fields attorney released this press release, calling his client's actions "justified and lawful," I figured someone would certainly speak out.
But I was wrong yet again.
I became more upset after researching recent events that struck a chord in hip hop. Within the past few months, we've seen massive responses to Drake's "Back To Back," Dre's Compton album, and Slim Jesus.
So let me get this straight: Today's hip hop would take to Twitter over fake beef and a struggle rapper quicker than social justice?
To make matters even more troubling, the victim recently became an orphan after the death of her mother. She was traumatized before this recent abuse even took place, which explains why she was often withdrawn in the classroom. And it gets even worse.
Yes, the teen was also injured. Her lawyer told New York Daily News that his client now "has a cast on her arm, a band aid on her neck, and neck and back problems" since the incident.
The fact that hip hop has apparently ignored this tragedy is disgusting and unacceptable. The genre was created to combat injustice and give voice to disenfranchised people struggling in the hood. So why was everybody ghost this week?
The incident has reminded me of an ignorant quote Kevin Gates once said. When asked by Bossip if it was the role of artists to speak on social issues, he said, "No ma'am. I speak on me. Anything that goes on around me, ain't my business."
It's the duty of influential figures to use their amplified voice to speak out for those who struggle to be heard. If you don't want that responsibility, you shouldn't be an artist at all. But, from the looks of things, today's new hip hop artists couldn't care less.
Though hip hop didn't come to this young lady's rescue, there were other conscious celebrities that did--and I'd like to thank them for using their voices to address the matter. Actors such as Octavia Spencer, Gabrielle Union, Olivia Wilde, Orlando Jones, Jeffrey Wright, and Charlie Sheen have already taken to their accounts to voice their disgust. Singers Cher, Ashanti, Jill Scott, and Reverend Jesse James have also expressed their sentiments.
I should also point out that I had to look extremely hard before I found just two hip hop heads retweet something about this. However, re-tweets are NOT responses. They simply agreed with someone else's opinionated views.
Unfortunately, today's very outspoken genre has yet to say one damn thing about this--and it's outrageous. It hurts me to type this, but...shame on you, hip hop. You let me down.