Music has always been at the center of Black resistance, from the stirring spirituals sung by enslaved Africans on the plantation, to "I'm Black and I'm Proud" and "Fight the Power." Thought there has been much criticism of mainstream, millionaire rappers who have chosen to stay quiet, if not silent, on the events in Ferguson, hip-hop has played a meaningful role in what is taking place and some of the artists who have been essential to that have released new tracks expressing their frustration and commitment to fighting police brutality and the governments that permit it.
Rebel Diaz, who participated in the #FergusonOctober events, dropped "Run" earlier this week. Collaborating with The Reminders, a Colorado-based husband and wife duo that recently toured with Lauryn Hill, the track calls on listeners to recognize the urgency of addressing state-sanctioned violence
St. Louis-native Tef Poe has become one of the leading voices of the Ferguson resistance movement; in fact, he traveled with Mike Brown's parents to Geneva this week to speak to the UN about human rights violations in St. Louis. The 27-year-old rapper found time to release a powerful "Jay Nixon diss track" on his website this week, offering listeners some context with a blog post:
"My city is on the brink of utter confusion and destruction. All of our elected officials have forsaken us. The Democratic Party and the Republican Party are both guilty of murder, racial profiling, and several other ongoing hate crimes.
Since August 9th we have been attacked and assaulted by a militarized police force while pleading for justice for our fallen brethren. The entire city of Saint Louis is about to explode and no one in a position of power has decided to step up and take ownership of this moment. We are crying out to the world for help yet no one hears us. This record was made out of a sense of desperation…Darren Wilson is a killer yet we are rounded up and treated like cattle for demanding his arrest…We cry for justice and they tear gas us in return. This situation has turned into a political game of cat and mouse and we are the mice. We believe in nonviolent protests. We advocate strongly for nonviolent protests. Our mission statement is nonviolent protests. We say this while we know for a fact that every police precinct in the metropolitan area is preparing to partner with the National Guard and attack us as if we are not tax paying citizens. We have witnessed your cruelty once before. We know you will not stop until there are no more bullets for you to shoot. We pray for peace but we are prepared defend our families. We are prepared to protect our children. We say this while we also realize you are currently preparing your militia to shoot us down in the streets of our very own communities as if we are stray dogs. My heart is heavy simply because I feel helpless…"
Listen to Tef Poe's "War Cry" here: