TRNN Replay: The Real News spoke to rapper Lil Will about how young black activists and artists in the St. Louis area are responding to the killing of Mike Brown one year later
LIL WILL: My name’s Lil Will. I grew up all around the St. Louis area. But right now I’m staying in the Ferguson area. I been going through a lot in life, I’ve been through a lot. Every day you hear gunshots out the window or police sirens, or things of that nature. Like, every few seconds somebody’s getting killed that you know, or may know. It’s like, a lot of confusion out here. Like, a lot of people dying and a lot of people being [seeking], a lot of people losing their family and struggling. A year ago it was like a, what I say, a war on the streets of St. Louis. [Begins rapping] Feel what I’m saying? [Music plays] LIL WILL: Now I’m here to help create a better [inaud.] altogether, and let us come together, because we got to. We got to. We’re all going through the same emotions, the same feelings, same struggles. Music is the changing voice of the city. This is a movement. That’s why everybody coming together. Music is empowering me. I make music to empower our people. If I didn’t have music it’d just be poverty. Stuck into the same mindset. Right now [we’re] EI Extreme Institute by Nelly, Nelly the Grammy award-winning artist. I go to his college in St. Louis City, and we’re in studio B right now. And we was working on my song, I was mixing my song Initiated. [Song plays] Most of my music is about the lifestyle that I live, and the culture. As a black people we’re not treated as the same as other people are treated. And you know what I’m saying, so like with the Mike Brown situation, that just, that just built a flame in me. Because he was on his way to college. I’m on my way to college. It’s like, it built a fire, a fire, a fire in my soul and in my pit. Right here, right here, right here. This way, this way. I’m looking at the Mike Brown memorial. This is where it happened, right here where the arrows point at it, in the street. This could be anybody. You got time to stop? How does this feel [the time] you walk past this? Because I know how I feel. How do you feel, another black person? Tell them how you feel, how this feels. SPEAKER: It’s heartbreaking. And it’s heartbreaking because it’s a reality that I feel like America as a whole is trying to suppress. I’ve heard numerous people say that racism is not in existence as of today because of some of the movements that have taken place. Slavery, the civil rights movements. The Constitution, really, where it is granted that every man should be able to experience freedom and the joys thereof. So this right here is just a reminder that that’s not America in its entirety. It’s still going on today, you know. LIL WILL: I think what has changed is a lot of black people, like 50 percent more black people that have come together during [inaud.] I think people are coming to their senses more clearly and understanding that we must come together. What hasn’t changed is the pain. That’s what hasn’t changed. It’ll never change. That’ll never expire. Me at home and coming out here against tear gas, being out a part of this last year, just seeing somebody on social media being left in the middle of the street, dead. You know what I’m saying, and the officers just standing unresponsive like they did nothing. Everybody got a dream. Until their dream you take away, and then this is all that’s left, a memorial.
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