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Mos Def, RZA, Aretha Franklin & more speak about Eric Garner issue; benefit shows for his family happening in NYC

Mos Def
photo: Mos Def at Rock the Bells 2011 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)

The Eric Garner protests, like last weekend’s Millions March, in NYC continue, and as you’ve probably seen and heard, many of those lending their voice to the cause are prominent musicians. Mos Def (aka Yasiin Bey), offered an audio statement called “Thoughts On The Upheaval From A Global Perspective” via Stop Being Famous, as Billboard points out. Here’s some of what he said:

Where are we? We’re at a critical time. We’re at a watershed moment for humanity. The urgency to ‘change this miserable condition on this earth,’ as Malcolm X said, is occurring to many of us, reaffirming itself.

It’s the opportunity for necessary change, positive change, and it’s not necessarily convenient or comfortable as I’m sure it is with any period of growth. I read somewhere that in order for an arrow to fly, the bow has to be drawn back. There’s some pressure involved and I think we’re all feeling that pressure. Some of us are more aware of it than others. Some of us are trying to drown it out. But we all feel it one way or another, in indelible ways in these times and days.

You can listen to the audio below.

RZA also spoke to Vanity Fair about it, saying:

The value of a man’s life has been totally reduced. It has never been even put at the proper value, when it comes to a black man… But we have an old-school mentality of what you can do, as a cop, and how someone already considered a criminal, even when he’s not committing a violent crime, or a real crime. Selling a cigarette is not really a crime, standing on the corner is not a real crime, at the end of the day.

But in this case, with Eric Garner, there is not a criminal here. This looks more like the ego and frustration of a man–forget that this guy was a cop. Take the uniform off. If you take the uniform off of those guys, it looks like a neighborhood beat down. It looked like a black guy got jumped by a bunch of white guys. It looks like this gang jumped that guy.

On Sunday (12/14), when Aretha Franklin attended the premiere of Selma (the film based on Martin Luther King and the 1965 civil rights marches of Selma, Alabama) in NYC, she was interviewed about how important she thinks a film like Selma is coming out at this time, and said:

I think that it’s gonna bring a higher level of consciousness to everything that’s happening, particularly between the movie and the Fergusons and all of the different happenings that we’ve had lately involving all of the young African American men. There is certainly a correlation between the two, the timing, and i think most importantly the timing. What was happening way back when and what is still happening now.

Lil B just released a song called “I Can’t Breathe,” which you can listen to below.

The Eric Garner case, other related tragedies, and the growing social movement around it also pushed D’Angelo to get his new album out as soon as he did (it was originally planned for 2015).

Meanwhile, money has been raised for Eric Garner’s family via Fundly and Indie GoGo campaigns. Fundraisers, like the one Russell Simons was at, are becoming more common. Two happening in NYC just popped up today:

One is a show billed as “BLACK LIVES MATTER” happening on December 23 at SOB’s. No artists announced at the moment, but tickets are on sale now.

The other is a noise show happening December 30 at Palisades with live sets from Nick Klein & Shredded Nerve, Miguel Alvarino, Appetite, Saran Man, Negation, Coil’s Drew McDowall, Pure Matrix, POI, Bookworms and Young Male, as well as DJ sets from Analog Soul, Half Life and Pharmakon (aka Margaret Chardiet). That one’s $12 at the door.

They may not really need the fundraisers in the end though, as the New York Times reports that New York City comptroller Scott M. Stringer is also “seeking to negotiate a settlement of a $75 million civil rights claim brought my Mr. Garner’s family.”

Stream the Lil B song and Mos Def speech below…

Mos Def – “Thoughts On The Upheaval From A Global Perspective”

Lil B – “I Can’t Breathe”

Check It Out

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