My Journal on Michael Brown of Ferguson, MO and J. Cole’s “BE FREE “

The Life As Shay Report:

I have been silent about the recent events in Ferguson, MO- only airing my grievances with our “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” on social media. But TODAY, today…I have finally found the words to craft a message that will convey my deepest condolences and thoughts on the turmoil and social unrest that my people are under. The life of Michael Brown was taken at the hands of Ferguson Police officer, Darren Wilson.

WE, are under attack. “We” has to do with everyone that makes up this nation. Injustice for one group is bondage for us all. But the African-American community in particular, WE are on the front lines of attack and education and unity are what will bring about the change that we desperately need and deserve. Are we not humans, are we not worthy of life and happiness. There are so many negative statistics, obstacles and systems set in place to ingrain inferiority that we are faced with before we even exit the womb, and yet we march on and fight. To make it to the same finish line as our peers, it could have taken us double the effort and double the preparation…but we make it.

I am appalled and hurt by this nation’s continuous exhibition of minimal value placed on the life of Black Men. I moved to LA and some people may think that that has changed me, and it has…it has made me more aware of myself, my community and where we are. We, as a people, have so far to go! We are backsliding. The pride and courageous nature of those before us, that brought us opportunities to function in this country as “equal citizens”, is deteriorating to an almost undetectable heap.

Life As Shay is not just about me or my opinions on music…It’s also about expressing honest views, speaking up on issues and telling stories with music as the soundtrack. One reason why I love Hip-Hop so much is its ability to tell a story that encapsulates a moment in history from the perspective of people less heard. When I tell you, I was waiting….I could not find a song that embodied my emotions on this killing and this civil calamity that continues to take place- Monday night, Ezell Ford of South LA was killed. Another unarmed Black Man! But then, J Cole released “Be Free.” When I tell you, I listened and wept. THIS is what we need in music, artists that will speak up and use their gift to share a meaningful message and uplift a nation bred in hate and discrimination.

“Aint no gun they make that can kill my soul…All we want to do is take the chains off.”- J. Cole

I urge you to use your voice, your gift, your time, and/or your resources to speak out against injustices. WE have to stick together. We need each other. Follow J Cole’s lead. Start the conversation in the comments below:

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