By K.B. Tindal
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer
Every Wednesday, DJ YRS Jerzy always comes in with a throwback track from years ago. But, this week, we all decided to do something different in the wake of all that is going on in the world. This wasn’t an easy decision to make, as Hip Hop Vibe is primarily entertainment, but at what point does one go political?
Marvin Gaye was ahead of his time, in many ways. Almost prophetic, Marvin Gaye sang about things that are happening more abundantly in today’s times than they were during his generation. With the news of young, black, men getting beaten and killed on the daily, and by cops, everyone has to stop and ask “what’s going on?”
In the day and age of smartphones, internet, social media, and black billionaires, it looks like Martin Luther King’s dream was realized. But, that is only the outside looking in, in reality things are tough and getting tougher by the day. As each life is lost, it gets harder each day to keep pressing forward.
So many thoughts run through the heads about why this is happening and what has to change. For the obvious reasons, it is easy to place the blame on the ones who are pulling the trigger, especially after they justify their reasons for killing. It is easy to blame such laws as “Stand Your Ground,” but is this another case of “black people have to do better” in order to fully achieve equality, or at the very least stop the killings?
Rascism has existed as long as race has and it isn’t always white towards black, sometimes it is reversed and it’s been addressed on such sitcoms as “Moesha” and “Girlfriends,” among others. But, the black/white divide has also been addressed from the slavery standpoint over the years on records from Nas, Jay-Z, Chamillionaire, and countless others. On “Rule,” Nas openly rapped “the darker you are, the bigger your problems.”
Again, this is a thin line to walk, because the bottom line is that a life is a life and let’s not pretend as if it is only white people out here killing black people. Truth be told, black people are killing black people every day all over the country, due to gang violence and white people are killing white people for various reasons. People are killing people and it’s heartbreaking, it is not all racial, the human race has to do better and respect the fact that a life is a life.
Waking up, constantly, to news stories about someone being brutally murdered is horrible and the Michael Brown situation adds insult to injury. A young man who is getting ready to leave home for the first time to attend college is a wonderful story, but the day before he is set to go, he is killed. At the very least, his family wants justice, but instead they receive footage of him being involved in a robbery, which tarnishes his character after his death.
Hip hop has stepped in with guys like Nelly and J. Cole going to Ferguson, Missouri to show their support, among others. Then, there are many more, such as 50 Cent, Game, and Ja Rule who have shown their support to Michael Brown by making posts about him on their social media. A young man shot and killed after he surrendered poses the question of “what’s going on?,” really and truly what is the problem.
Every living and breathing person on Earth can do better, but what has to happen to end the killings? Not only the killings such as the cases of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and all the situations like them that didn’t get reported, but also situations like the gang violence pitting young, black, people against each other and then others who are out here killing. There is a reason that taking a human life is illegal and punishment can lead to the death penalty.
The moral compass is indeed a bit off and there is only so much one person can do to resolve the situation. This is a group effort, but what is the first step to make some real progress and change things. While hopefully pondering on this, please take the trip back to 1971 and listen to “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye, the title track off his album that dropped the same year.
Watch “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye below:
Follow K.B. Tindal on Twitter @KBTindal.