As the country continues to keep a watchful eye on the developments of the Trayvon Martin case, musician and activist Wyclef Jean chose an alternative form of expression to voice his desire for justice to be served: a song entitled “Justice (Trayvon Martin tribute). The 3:42 long track starts off echoing the fears of many who have followed the case: the fact that this could happen to any young Black man in America.
“If you’re 17 and you’re wearing a hoody/ you’re on the phone talking to ya shawty/ make no mistake there’s one like you in every city….”
Wyclef then goes on to relay the details of the events that led up to Trayvon’s murder and takes a moment to think about what could have been:
“He goin’ creep up from behind/have you leave earth before your time…he could have been the next president…so until we get justice we won’t stop…”
Ultimately, Wyclef attempts to inform youth of the reality that the case captures for youth both in America and around the world:
“I feel for you if you’re 17…if you’re 17 you should learn the law/fight with your mind/stronger than arms/make no mistake/ there’s one like you/ on every block, in every country/so let’s unite…”
Wyclef, who has been outspoken against violence and injustice in the past, provided insight as to why he penned the track, “When I think of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Wyclef “and his statement ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’ I had to do something.” He went on to state that this injustice did not start with Trayvon, “This has been going on for way too long. We can no longer say this is not my kid. This affects everyone and we all know a 17-year-old. This is my voice and this is how I’ve been speaking my entire life.”
In 1999, he penned the song, “Diallo, Diallo,” after an “unarmed young African immigrant”, Mamadou Diallo, was shot to death. Wyclef stated that he found “disturbing similarities” in Trayvon’s case, which took place 13 years after Diallo’s murder.
We commend Wyclef and the countless other celebrities who are taking a stand for Trayvon and youth like him everywhere.