Killer Mike Offers ‘Homework for All of White America’: ‘Now Is Time to Stand Up’

Killer Mike appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Monday (June 1) to speak about what white Americans can do to help the Black Lives Matter movement.

The conversation started when host Stephen Colbert opened up a much-needed dialogue with the rapper and activist about how white people in the U.S. can serve as better allies to the black community amid the ongoing nationwide protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death. “For white people who want to support black people right now in this particular moment,” Colbert started, “do you have any advice on how they can best do that? Or just stay out of the way?”

“No, we don’t need you to stay out of the way,” replied Killer Mike, who gave an emotional speech during a press conference in Atlanta May 29. “What I need you to do is send financial help to some of the organizations I just named, because those are the organizations on the ground. Then get your butt down there and help those organizations in the physical.”

(Earlier in his interview with the comedian, the Run the Jewels rapper had referenced the New Georgia Project, Movement for Black Lives, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and numerous other grassroots initiatives committed to racial equality.)

“But what I need white America to do beyond right now is understand that right now is always,” Killer Mike continued. “It isn’t just helping in the now — it is being a part of fixing it always.”

Additionally, the Run the Jewels rapper offered one specific suggestion about how Americans can start dismantling the biases in their own lives. “The first thing I want you guys to do is go to YouTube and Google ‘Jane Elliott,'” he said. “And spend one hour watching Jane Elliot teach people, not just speak … she’s not just speaking, but she’s teaching people about the racism that is given to them, that they aren’t even aware they have.

“She asks the question: ‘How many of you all see how black people are treated in this country? How many of you all know how black people [are] treated?'” he explained. “And then she says, ‘If you’d like to be treated like that, stand up.’ And no one in the crowd stands up. So that immediately tells you, you know how we’re treated, you know it’s burdensome, you know it’s troublesome and wrong, but you simply don’t do anything because it’s that ‘well it’s not me’ factor.”

The activist then concluded his entreaty by stressing the importance of white Americans no longer sitting on the sidelines in the fight for racial justice.

“If there’s a riot going on in the streets, you gotta start to understand that now is time to stand up — with the people who are getting beaten up. With the people who are tired of being treated that way,” said the rapper, whose Run the Jewels 4 will be available for free  Friday (June 5). “So my homework for all of white America, including you, is to spend an hour learning from Jane Elliott on YouTube tonight.”

Watch Killer Mike’s informative chat with Colbert below.

Terrace Martin Teams With Denzel Curry, Kamasi Washington on Incendiary Protest Song ‘Pig Feet’: Listen

L.A. rapper/producer Terrace Martin has teamed with Denzel Curry, jazz great Kamasi Washington, G Perico and Daylyt on the hard-hitting protest track “Pig Feet.”

In the description of the song’s video — a collection of black-and-white footage of the past week’s protests in the wake of the police-involved killing of George Floyd — he writes, “someone asked, how do I feel? I told them hurt, fearless, angry, aware and fully ready to protect me, my family & my people at all costs. I got together with Black men that felt the same way and created a work of truth.”

The track, which dropped on Tuesday morning (June 2), opens with a fiery, breathless verse from Curry, who raps, “Helicopters over my balcony/ If the police can’t harass, they wanna smoke every ounce of me/ Breath is alchemy, see how the life converted/ You tell me life’s a female dog, well I’m perverted/ Go to jail and get murdered.”

With a hectic, Public Enemy-style urgency spiked with Washington’s wailing saxophone, the Curry verse pays homage to Snoop Dogg (“Murder was the case they gave us”), while taking on everything from the prison industrial complex to rumors of undercover cops fomenting violence during the Floyd protests to pitched battles in the streets between angry protesters and officers.

The clip ends with a long scrolling list of black men and women who’ve been killed by police.

Watch the “Pig Feet” video below.

Halsey Calls Out Police Violence Against Protestors at L.A. Demonstrations: ‘This Is War on Americans’

On Monday (June 1), Halsey shared a number of powerful images of her experience on the ground at Black Lives Matter protests in Los Angeles.

“It’s become very clear to me that some of you need to see what I’ve seen,” she captioned a slideshow of videos and photos featuring peaceful protestors being tear-gassed and shot at by police. “It’s easy from the comfort of your home to watch looting and rioting on television and condone the violent measures being taken by forces. But what you don’t see is innocent peaceful protestors being shot at and tear gassed and physically assaulted relentlessly.

“You think it’s not happening, it’s only the ‘thugs’ and the ‘riots,’ right? The police are keeping you safe right? You’re wrong,” she continued. “This is happening everywhere. And innocent people exercising their rights to speech and assembly are facing violence and abuse of power.”

In the post, the pop star also referenced how she was able to provide first aid assistance to injured protestors thanks to training from her mother. “There is little to no medical attention available,” she wrote. “I have first hand treated men women and children who have been shot in the chest, the face, the back. Some will lose vision some have lost fingers. I have been covered in innocent blood. My father is a black man. My mother is an EMT. This week I had to put those two associations together in ways that have horrified me.”

Halsey was quick to clarify that her intention in sharing the images was “NOT a virtual signaling post,” but rather a call to action for fans passively watching the protests take place on social media.

“With Trump’s decision today to enforce the mobilization of armed forces on our own citizens, this has escalated beyond your privilege and comfort to not care. Please care,” she urged. “We are begging you to care. This is war on Americans. This is everyone’s problem. Everyone’s.”

Check out Halsey’s heartfelt post below.

View this post on Instagram

It’s become very clear to me that some of you need to see what I’ve seen. Please swipe through this. These pictures and videos don’t even scratch the surface. It’s easy from the comfort of your home to watch looting and rioting on television and condone the violent measures being taken by forces. But what you don’t see is innocent peaceful protestors being shot at and tear gassed and physically assaulted relentlessly. You think it’s not happening, it’s only the “thugs” and the “riots”, right? The police are keeping you safe right? You’re wrong. This is happening everywhere. And innocent people exercising their rights to speech and assembly are facing violence and abuse of power. With all of our medical professionals being CONSUMED and EXHAUSTED with Covid, there is little to no medical attention available. I have first hand treated men women and children who have been shot in the chest, the face, the back. Some will lose vision some have lost fingers. I have been covered in innocent blood. My father is a black man. My mother is an EMT. This week I had to put those two associations together in ways that have horrified me. This is NOT a virtue signaling post. But I HAVE to show you what I am witnessing with my own eyes. With Trump’s decision today to enforce the mobilization of armed forces on our own citizens, this has escalated beyond your privilege and comfort to not care. Please care. We are begging you to care. This is war on Americans. This is everyone’s problem. Everyone’s. #BLACKLIVESMATTER

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A Letter From Billboard: Why the Show Must Be Paused

The racism and police brutality we’ve seen across the country in recent weeks has been devastating — and even more punishing in what was already a terrifying time of health and economic crisis. Yet the violence has been all too familiar for the Black community, to whom we owe so much of our greatest music.

Two young music executives, Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, decided that business couldn’t go on as usual without both music companies and consumers placing as high a value on the lives of Black creators as they do on their art, sagely declaring that “the show must be paused.” On the website for what’s been dubbed “Black Out Tuesday,” they’ve encouraged the music sector to use June 2 “for an honest, reflective, and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the Black community,” noting that the music industry “has profited predominantly from Black art,” and seeking “to hold the industry at large, including major corporations + their partners who benefit from the efforts, struggles and successes of Black people accountable.”

Remarkably, the world’s biggest record labels quickly heeded these women’s call to action, canceling their normal operations. Our company — from our publications to our equally music-dependent film and TV production units — is participating in solidarity. At Billboard today, we will use our platforms to cover this movement’s mission, amplifying the voices that need to be heard. Please let us know if you’d like to share your personal messages, struggles, or solutions with the Billboard community this week by emailing biz@billboard.com, and join us in taking time to recognize the pain and anguish behind the music that supports us all. We hope the bold initiative these executives took will inspire our colleagues throughout the business to do the same — and find ways to use their own power to fight injustice.

In solidarity,

Hannah Karp, editorial director
Deanna Brown, president

Movement For Black Lives Is Seeking Policing Reforms on Black Out Tuesday

The music industry is taking a day to reflect on Tuesday (June 2) as part of Black Out Tuesday/#TheShowMustBePaused, an industry-wide effort to “disconnect from work and reconnect with our community.”

In conjunction with the day of reflection — which was coordinated by Atlantic Records executives Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang in reaction to the police-involved killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others — the Movement 4 Black Lives, a coalition of 100 black-led organizations, is calling for five days of action, each focused on a specific set of demands.

“It feels important to really move the needle on how we’re relating right now and call for very specific national asks that people can drill down at a local level in response to persistent police violence and terror,” Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and founding member of M4BL, tells Billboard.

As citizens across the country march in dozens of cities to demand justice for Floyd, Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, Cullors says Tuesday’s call is focused on “invest-divest.”

“We’re demanding an end to the war against black people, number one. Stop criminalizing us, stop incarcerating us, stop killing us in the streets and number two we’re demanding a divestment from police and investment into black communities,” she says. Tuesday’s call also asks local elected officials to divert resources going to policing to instead focus on housing, healthcare and education.

“The more officers have access to guns and jails and prisons those are not solutions to deal with longstanding issues of racial injustice in this country,” says Cullors, who is encouraging fellow activists to tweet at university presidents, city council members, aldermen and family members to discuss the effort to defunding police.

The M4BL is also asking universities and colleges to cut ties with local police and Cullors says that although the movement is not marching in the streets because of one person, the harrowing footage of unarmed black man Floyd laying on the ground as a white police office put a knee to his neck for nearly nine minutes has helped spark this urgent call to action.

That mobilizations includes an open letter, which M4BL says has been co-signed by Lizzo, John Legend, Jane Fonda, The Weeknd, Ebro Darden, Common, Natalie Portman, Steve Aoki, G Herbo, Dina LaPolt, Brie Larson, Taraji P. Henson, Tory Lanez, Dream Hampton, Yara Shahidi, Talib Kweli, Megan Rapinoe and others in an effort to shift the conversation from a focus on the riots and property damage taking place alongside the many peaceful protest marches and instead focus on concrete actions.

“I think it’s an important effort and it’s what’s best to get people in the music industry to get more deeply involved in local organizations and challenging how they’ve been business as usual. This is not a time to be business as usual,” Cullors says of coordinating with #TheShowMustBePaused. “Let’s commit to real change and [today’s] action will be one way that they commit to real change. I’m excited to be in partnership with them to continue to make change.”

Getting the music industry involved is a way to push forward on M4BL’s bold action plan to fund local communities by using the influence and power of the entertainment industry to make their efforts more visible on a national stage, says Cullors.

Other actions M4BL is pushing for this week is Wednesday’s demand for immediate relief (cash payments, rent/mortgage cancellation, moratorium on utility/water shutoffs, cancellation of student/medical debt) to Thursday’s demand for community control over schools, local budgets and economies, Friday’s demand for an end to the criminalization and incarceration of black people and Saturday’s call to make meaning out of this moment of crisis.

Read the letter below.

Black People Are Dying of Police Terror and Covid19. It is time to defund the police NOW

Black communities across the nation are mourning the deaths of George Floyd, tortured to death by Minneapolis police, Ahmaud Arbery, a jogger who was killed while running in a residential neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia, Breonna Taylor an EMT killed while asleep in her bed in Louisville,KY, Dreasjon Reed in Indianapolis and Tony McDade in Tallahassee. Their names are added to a devastatingly long list of Black people who have been killed at the hands of vigilantes or law enforcement. Not to mention the others whose names we don’t yet know, and may never know since they were killed without a camera recording it.

At the same time, the United States leads the world in COVID-19 cases. So far, more than 100,000 people — enough to fill a football stadium– have perished from the virus, with over one million cases confirmed, and those numbers don’t reflect all the people dying from virus-related illnesses. Black people are suffering disproportionately from COVID-19, four times more likely to die than their white neighbors.

It is important to state this within the context of the scourge of anti-Black police terror and the resulting uprisings taking place across the U.S. The COVID-19 deaths and the deaths caused by police terror are connected and consequential to each other. The United States does not have a national healthcare system. Instead, we have the largest military budget in the world, and some of the most well-funded and militarized police departments in the world, too. Policing and militarization overwhelmingly dominate the bulk of national and local budgets. In fact, police and military funding has increased every single year since 1973, and at the same time, funding for public health decreased every year, crystallized most recently when the Trump administration eliminated the US Pandemic Response Team in 2018, citing “costs”.

The time has come to defund the police.

Black communities are living in persistent fear of being killed by state authorities like police, immigration agents or even white vigilantes who are emboldened by state actors. According to the Urban Institute, in 1977, state and local governments spent $60 billion on police and corrections. In 2017, they spent $194 billion. A 220 percent increase. Despite continued profiling, harassment, terror and killing of Black communities, local and federal decision-makers continue to invest in the police, which leaves Black people vulnerable and our communities no safer.

Where could that money go? It could go towards building healthy communities, to the health of our elders and children, to neighborhood infrastructure, to education, to childcare, to support a vibrant Black future. The possibilities are endless.

We join in solidarity with the freedom fighters in Minneapolis, Louisville, and across the United States. And we call for the end to police terror.

We call for defunding of police and for those dollars to be rerouted to create a public national healthcare system.

Join us in demanding your local officials take the pledge to:

Vote no on all increases to police budgets
Vote yes to decrease police spending and budgets
Vote yes to increase spending on Health care, Education, and Community programs that keep us safe.

Big Sean Speaks Out About Protesting in Powerful Video Message: ‘I Don’t Feel Equal and I Don’t Feel Free’

Big Sean took to social media on Monday (June 1) to express his feelings about protesting with the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd’s death and his identity as a Black man in America.

“Clearly we got the whole world’s attention, obviously,” the rapper said in a video posted to his Twitter and Instagram feeds. “And justice has to be served. Period. And if it’s not, I don’t think things are going to change or get better.”

Sean also opened up about his experiences participating in protests over the past few days. “I know I been protesting, I know a lot of us been out on the streets protesting,” he said, “And it’s been a lot of unity, but I also see a lot of people with ulterior motives that look like undercover cops. I don’t know if they are undercover cops, but like, you know, starting a lot of the conflict, a lot of the issues. And we’ve all seen places where they’ve got them bricks conveniently located to wreak havoc, and I don’t know what the ulterior motive is.

“I don’t know if it’s to make us look like we wild beasts or don’t have control, but we clearly are not wild beasts. We’re extraordinary, talented magical people that if you took us out of the equation, the world would be very, very bland.”

Sean then touched on the long history of slavery and discrimination throughout U.S. history, saying, “Our ancestors built this country for free, OK? So I’m just talking from the heart right now but one of my biggest issues is that…this current government, and country, is built on a racist foundation. A lot of us know this. You want to talk about systemic oppression, you want to talk about the justice system being targeted to people that look like me.

“And it’s impossible to get out of once you in there, you know?…Some of the first polices forces ever was made during slavery, down South, in them Southern states. And their main focus was to capture, apprehend, beat, discipline slaves, rip them apart from their families, keep them apart and God knows whatever else.”

“So that’s what I’m saying, that’s how deep it goes back,” he continued. “So no wonder that a cop feels like they could kill a Black man or woman and feel like it’s a way of life.”

In a followup video, Big Sean candidly spoke about being a Black man in America today. “So you want to talk about land of equality and freedom?” he asked. “I don’t feel equal and I don’t feel free. Of course let’s speak up and be heard, but things have to change.”

Watch Big Sean’s powerful statement below.

Reggie Watts Breaks Down Discussing Racial Discrimination on ‘The Late Late Show’

The Late Late Show with James Corden was appropriately somber on Monday night (June 1) in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests happening across America in response to the death of George Floyd.

After opening the show with an impassioned plea for viewers to focus on the message “of the protestors who have voices that need to be heard right now,” host James Corden checked in with Late Late Show bandleader Reggie Watts via satellite.

During the chat, Watts, who is half Black, touched on the overt racism he faced while growing up — from being called the n-word as a child (“my mom was a fierce fighter and would get in people’s faces”) to his parents’ interracial marriage not being recognized due to prohibitive anti-miscegenation laws. “I have this history in the Black community in the Midwest that I don’t access a lot because there’s a lot of pain and emotion there, you know?” the Late Late Show bandleader said before suddenly breaking down in tears. “So it’s hard; there’s so much happening, and I wanna use my platform for good.”

“I’m so sorry that you’re feeling this,” an emotional Corden replied, his voice breaking. “And I would give anything to be in a room with you and put my arm around you. You’re worth so much. I would give anything to be able to put my arm around you.”

The bandleader also spoke candidly about the “pressure” he’s been feeling to represent for his community during this fraught moment in history. “I grew up all my life really fighting to just be a human being and to not have people affected by the way that they look, but I also know that that’s just a reality,” he said. “So, you know, I’m trying my best to process and be responsible with the platform I have. But mostly I just…I’m feeling so much, it’s hard for me.”

Corden closed out the segment by sharing U.K. rapper Dave’s powerful performance of his 2019 single “Black” from this year’s BRIT Awards, held last February at London’s 02 Arena.

Watch the video below.