Ever since the olden days especially when slavery existed, African Americans were seen as less than simply because of the color of our skin. Slaves were treated as if their lives didn’t matter by their inhumane white slaveholders. They were brutally beaten and many were even murdered. They suffered at the hands of people just like them, the only difference was their skin color. Even as an end was put to slavery, African Americans still face issues such as police brutality and racial profiling. White police officers for the most part, have taken many lives due to these issues. A very eminent and influential individual in the music industry projects these issues through song as an eye opener for African Americans. On August 15, 2014 days after a tragic incident he released a song titled “Be Free.” In the song, J. Cole was responding to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri which took place on August 9, 2014. This song went viral in a matter of hours after he uploaded it on the SoundCloud platform where it was shared mainly through social media. J. Cole used his platform to voice thoughts and feelings on the issues of injustice that people of color sadly still face today.
Throughout the song, you can tell that J. Cole really felt hurt by the untimely death of one of his kind, a young African American who was fatally killed by a police officer in cold blood. On the day of the incident Brown was recorded on camera stealing a box of cigars and pushing a Ferguson Market clerk away. Brown was accompanied by his friend Dorian Johnson and they both fled the market. Officer Wilson drove up to them and ordered them to move off the street. Wilson had to stop his car close to them. This caused a grapple between Brown and Wilson after the teen reached through the window of the police car. Wilson’s gun was fired twice during the struggle from the inside of the car, with one bullet hitting Brown’s right hand. Brown and Johnson started to run away when Johnson decided to hide behind a car. Wilson got out of the car and pursued Brown. Eventually, while facing Brown, Wilson fired his gun again and hit Brown with at least seven shots. Brown was unarmed and died on the street. Wilson knew that Brown didn’t have any weapons on him but still decided to shoot him callously. Some may argue that Brown was coming off as dangerous or intimidating and that the officer was protecting himself. The officer could’ve tried taking him down and handcuffing him instead of shooting him. And if Wilson had back up things might have went differently. Also it’s not like he just shot him once he shot him several times, it’s almost as if he was trying to prove something. Letting Brown or African Americans know that the white police officer always wins. As expected, Wilson was cleared of civil rights violations in the shooting. This led to violence such as fires and looting. Also protesters were seen throwing objects at police officers in riot gear because they believed justice wasn’t being served.