Hip-hop artists aren’t “thugs.”
That’s the message Common hopes to impart in the wake of a fatal shooting backstage before T.I.’s concert at New York City’s Irving Plaza last week.
Authorities have charged rapper Troy Ave with attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon. He pleaded not guilty Monday night.
Whatever went down, Common — an anti-violence advocate who helps inner-city youth through his Common Ground Foundation — doesn’t want the tragedy to propagate racist stereotypes.
“Obviously there are black people and brown people that come from poor environments, but that doesn’t label us as being one type of person coming from there. And that doesn’t mean that we’re violent because we come from that area,” the Oscar-winning rapper, actor and activist said Tuesday on Bevelations. “Yes, violence does exist, but it’s not a hip-hop problem. It’s not a problem that was created by hip-hop culture. It’s something that existed in America because America has been, throughout the years, built with some of the violent techniques and ways of achieving things. We’re not bringing in the guns, to be honest.”
“When I see people, individuals, I speak to them with love unless they cross me, but the powers that be that have opportunities to change things politically or these corporations, we gotta bring them down to earth,” added Common, 44.
Hear Bevy Smith‘s full interview with Common and American Black Film Festival founder Jeff Friday on demand now. Bevelations airs weekdays at 5 pm ET on SiriusXM Radio Andy (Ch. 102).
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