Continuing their four-week occupancy of Florida’s capitol until “Stand Your Ground” is repealed, the Dream Defenders were joined by hip-hop legend Talib Kweli and his son Amani Fela Greene last week.
Spending the night and leading a hip-hop cypher with the remarkable youth coalition, he had some encouraging words at a press conference:
“It’s not my job to be here as an artist. It’s not my job to be here as a rapper. My job as an artist is to make art and be honest with my art. But it’s my job as a human being and as a man that comes before what I do for a living.
In a lot of ways with the music, we victimize ourselves — younger hip-hop musicians in particular. It seems like they only see the negative; they only want to paint a picture of what is existing. Haki Madhubuti , who is a poet, once said ‘the responsibility of the great artist is not to just paint a picture of what is, but a picture of what could be.’
It has to exist in the community. So even if you have social networking, it doesn’t work if the people don’t know that they have to be responsible.
It’s what y’all are doin’, that’s gonna create the next leaders. Instead of people getting on Twitter like, ‘How come there’s no more Malcolm Xs?’ Go to the capitol building and be Malcolm. My hope is that by your example, the artists and the celebrities and the politicians and the athletes and the people who were raised to know the difference step up. It’s really on us.”
Last week the Dream Defenders also introduced Trayvon’s Law , which “seeks to reverse state laws that allow people to shoot-and-kill first then claim self-defense later with impunity, that encourage racial profiling, and that excessively punish black and brown school students for trivial offenses.”