I knew the music would come. The rallies, the raging chants, the countless protests, and massive displays of public outrage have taken place ever since the tragic murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26.
And now, we honor the slain teenager through music.
A few hip hop artists have written tribute songs for Martin, expressing both their grief and disgust with the fatal incident, its racial context, and the discriminatory cracks in the judicial system.
In his tribute song “We Are Trayvon Martin”, Plies raps “Sometimes trying to live right/Sometimes it seems so wrong/Sometimes you tryin to get justice/Sometimes it take so long/But the ones that pose to keep in/Be the ones they let go home/But the ones that hustle and survive/Be the ones they hold with no bond.”
I have expressed this point a number of times, but hip hop culture, at its best, is a force for change and has the power to a impart wisdom on the younger generation. This is a perfect instance in which my opinion has been illustrated.
Sometimes it takes a Wyclef Jean or ?uestlove to get the message out via Twitter or Facebook for people to listen. Or it may take a song or 16 bar rap from Plies for people to realize the significance of a horrific crime, but if they can make a difference, who are we to judge.
Hip hop artists have a responsibility to not only make good music, but to make a difference by using their voice to encourage people to take a stand.
Let’s remember, hip hop is a product of the Civil Rights Movement,which used music as a source of inspiration, unity,and declaration against injustice.
And as products of the hip hop generation, we are faced with that same task.
Trayvon did not deserve to lose his life, and there will won’t be peace in the valley or in the streets until justice has prevailed.
So, as Trayvon is looking down from heaven, not only is he seeing the nation rally, chant, and protest on his behalf, but he is listening to his songs echo from the speakers of the angel’s stereo.
R.I.P. Trayvon Martin
Plies’ song “We Are Trayvon Martin” is available on iTunes and the proceeds from the song will go to the Martin family.