Common and Russell Simmons spoke with conviction on the steps of New York City’s City Hall alongside activists, protesters, and fellow artists on Wednesday morning (December 10). Their message was simple, there needs to be major changes implemented to the race-based policing culture not just in the Big Apple, but across the each of the States.
“America should be ashamed of itself. The police department should be ashamed of itself,” Common chastised. “We are going to do whatever it takes to get justice. We need to stand together and we are going to do everything it takes to change the system. The war is here now. It’s a war with love. We’re going to fight it to the end.”
The crowd, armed to a tee with “Black Lives Matter” signs and clothed in “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts, effectively drenched in black, echoed Common’s sentiments, while listening intently.
Simmons spoke of a conversation with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, during which he proposed him to appoint special prosecutors to handle cases of police brutality; Cuomo is reportedly considering it.
“Today is the beginning of the end of police policing police,” Simmons said. “Holding in the governor for that is a good step. We can almost guarantee we will get the indictments we are looking for.”
Prominent MCs and figures in Hip-Hop have joined protesters in New York City in the days following a grand jury’s decision not to indict NYPD’s Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner. That said, Wednesday’s group called for Pantaleo to be fired, because injustice.
Nas, Afrika Bambaataa, 9th Wonder, Rapsody, Immortal Technique, and more were also among MCs and producers there to show support.