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Artists Weigh In After George Zimmerman’s Trial

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Several weeks after the shocking verdict was announced for the George Zimmerman trial, America is still in an uproar. Silent protesters closed down Times Square, rioters took over LA, and a family even refused to be associated with Zimmerman after he saved them from a car accident. The hip-hop industry, much like the rest of America, has spoken up about their displeasure with the final verdict and here’s what they had to say.

Singer/songwriter, Akon, felt that the trial all members of the African American community should pack up and move back to Africa. “Every African American in the United States need to move their money, family, knowledge back to Africa were you will be treated like the royalty you are. You don’t deserve this treatment. This is not your country!” he said on his Instagram account. Of course, Akon’s statement was met with anger from other American citizens who felt that despite the apparent flaw in the justice system, America was still the greatest place to live.

Jose James, renowned as an American jazz and hip-hop artist, picked up his pen and encouraged other artists to protest Florida’s Stand Your Ground Laws. Many musicians did just that. Jay Z, Kanye, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Rod Stewart, and Madonna are just a few of those refusing to perform in Florida until things change. Rick Ross, even weeks later, is still angry. “I’m upset and really, really enraged. I’ve just been trying to keep from putting too much negative energy out there. So, you know, we’re just doing our thing behind our closed doors. But most definitely, that’s a big problem and something has to happen and it will.” Questlove has a similar opinion on the Zimmerman verdict and wrote an incredibly poignant open letter entitled Trayvon Martin and I ain’t sh*t. While what these artists are doing may not yet be out in the open, hopefully the change will come about soon.

However, while some artists are merely protesting or working behind the scenes to make America a safer place for black teens, others have taken a more violent route. In an interview, T.I. stated that Mr. Martin was a strong, clear-headed man because he would have killed Zimmerman had Trayvon been his son. But despite the outcome of the trial, America has come together to unite in a cause and hopefully change the justice system for the better. The streets may not be safe for our children as this moment in our history, but thee day they will is on the horizon.

Mackenzie is an Alabama native attending NYU and studying Journalism and Dramatic Literature. She hopes to one day live in London and write for the BBC.