Jam of the Day | J. Cole – Be Free

via Soundcloud

Can you tell me why
Every time I step outside
I see my niggas die?

I’m letting you know
That there ain’t no gun they make
That can kill my soul 

According to the most recent justifiable homicide data published by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program, a white police officer killed a black person approximately two times every week between the years of 2005 and 2012 (USA Today). This data is made even more harrowing when you consider that it isn’t even accurate; there is no national database dedicated to police shootings, and providing information to the FBI’s UCR program is voluntary for state and local police agencies.

On Saturday, August 9, 2014, an 18-year-old black man named Michael Brown was shot to death by white police officer Darren Wilson following an altercation in Ferguson, Missouri. The details of what exactly happened are shaky and eyewitness accounts conflict, but this tragedy has sparked nearly two weeks of protests, demonstrations, and clashes with police that have received widespread, highly polarized media coverage.

J. Cole’s “Be Free” is a deeply moving, somber track addressing the legacy of racism and injustice in America. The song utilizes recordings of eyewitnesses accounts of Michael’s shooting to great emotional effect, and no matter how you feel about what happened/is happening in Ferguson, it’s difficult to argue against this sentiment:

All we want to do is take the chains off
All we want to do is break the chains off
All we want to do is be free

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