With Black Music Month in full effect this year, African American artists are looking for ways to stay active, motivated, and committed on the fight for social change within their communities in light of the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Adbery and more.
Spurred by the callous disregard for Black lives, artists are hoping to use their platforms as microphones to invoke reform in both the short and long term. Every Friday of this month, we will have an artist speak on today’s climate, offer their suggestions for revision going forward, and why being Black continues to be a gift more than a curse.
Fresh off his ambitious release Alfredo, Freddie Gibbs dishes on his personal experiences with police brutality, and why he’s fearful that a change in racial inequality might not happen in his lifetime. — As told to Carl Lamarre
I already saw all of this. I feel like with all of this sh–t already going on, I’ve just been floating through it. Being disenfranchised in America is something we’ve been doing with. At this point, I’m kind of conditioned to it. Police murdered my friend in front of us in 2006. So I’ve been kind of seeing this first-hand for awhile with police brutality.
The crazy part about that is he got murdered by a Black cop. A lot of Black cops, when they start bleeding blue — you know, you gotta watch it. It’s just the system. It ain’t matter if the guy was Black or White, it was the system that he worked for that’s controlled by white supremacists. That’s why it is what it is right now.
We need more Black control on a political level [in order to make change]. There gotta be more Black mayors, more Black politicians, more Black judges, more Black people actually in power doing things of that nature. People need to go vote and do what they can to change the status of the climate politically. In terms of the music industry changing, I’m blessed to be here. If people want to recognize what I do, then cool. If they don’t, then I get it, I understand. There’s politics in America and there’s politics in the music industry.
It’s crazy I’ve been seeing people with those “My Execution Might Be Televised” signs at protests, but I didn’t really think about that when I was making Alfredo. I made that record before George Floyd and all of that stuff. I made “Scottie Beam” before all of that. So it was no problem to make that song because I breathe that s–t. To see people with the signs out, it’s crazy because I didn’t have any of that in mind.
But, honestly, I don’t really know if things are going to change in my generation. Hopefully, my kids see it and it gets better for them. I’m not gonna say there’s no hope, but it’s going to be difficult for things to change. I’m in my 30s. Life is short, and we’ve been under this racist regime for 600 years. I don’t expect things to change overnight. I think it might take another hunnid, maybe even 200.
But you still have to preserve, though. That don’t mean give up, because we gotta keep fighting. We’re not fighting for ourselves at this point. You gotta look at it like that for future generations.