Recently, it came to our attention that Plies had a gold chain made for him that depicted slain teen Trayvon Martin. In the video, Plies gives a brief explanation of why he had the piece made, and what it symbolizes. But we knew we had to reach out and hear more about why the Florida rapper chose to memorialize Martin in this manner. Below is from the conversation that we had with Plies.

What can you tell us about the Trayvon Martin chain?
That was something that meant the world to me. I followed that story closely like most everybody in the country.  I first started off with the Trayvon tribute record. I just did that from a sincere place in my heart. Before we even recorded we got a partnership with Atlantic Records and Slip-n-Slide Records and set it up so that all the proceeds of the record would go to the Martin family and whatever foundation they wanted. This was just a situation that, not only touched my culture but touched a huge part of America.

I’m a jewelry guy, but this is probably one of the most valuable pieces to me and close to my heart. It really touched me and I want to always remember that situation, because it really re-focused a lot of people around the country. So getting this done, this is something I always want to keep around my neck. It always reminds me of where I come from.

 

I told my brother and my mom that if something ever happens to me, I want them to bury me with this chain.

 

So it’s like a way of paying tribute and keeping the whole memory of both Trayvon and the trial and that time meant and brought attention to?
It’s a hell of a reminder. For me, when I look at the piece, it gives me courage and strength. Not only do I see Trayvon, but I see two strong parents that fought their way to the end and are still fighting today. I see Trayvon when I look at it, but I can’t even look at a picture of Trayvon without seeing his mom and dad. That’s why this is so special to me.

When did you come up with this idea?
Actually at the time I was getting something done with my jeweler. I stopped that idea. Every time I go into a new project or a new album, I try to get something that means a lot. So when I felt that impact of that whole Trayvon Martin situation, I felt like it was a great reflection of where I was and where I’m at in my life. You know, dealing with real life situations and being a part of a culture that is not understood by the majority. I felt like at that particular point in my life, from a mental standpoint I feel like Trayvon and that whole entire situation, it just represents more than a 17-year-old unarmed kid that was murdered. I feel like it represents so much more from the unfair justice system to the unity of America and coming together whether you was white, whether you was black, whether you was Hispanic. I think that was one of the few times I’ve been a part of, in my short stay here on this Earth that I’ve seen people from all walks of life come together. You still had your nay-sayers, but that’s a part of anything. It’s just one of those moments that you always remember.

 

 

The weight of it is probably the weight of America. The weight that it carries, that’s a priceless weight to me.

 

Who’s your jeweler?
I got a guy in Houston, goes by the name “Nick the Iceman.”

How long did it take for you guys to come up with the design?
I told him, “Take your time, man. Take your time.” I wanted him to get every possible detail that he could get. Through the process he showed me the ins and outs of it. I think it took him a little over a month and a half to get to the final stages and when I seen that I just fell in love with it.

Do you know the weight or the material?
The weight of it is probably the weight of America. The weight that it carries, that’s a priceless weight to me.

What we took away from this is that everyone deals with tragedy in their own way and this is just your own way of dealing with it. Besides the record and the foundation, is there any other way that you are making sure that people don’t forget that time in this country?
I think from an artist’s standpoint, people who follow my career from day one up until this point, I’ve always been an artist that’s touched on the struggle. I’ve always had records that have reflected struggle so I think that’s why people really appreciated it so much coming from me. I’ve always been that artist that’s kind of rode that fine line. I think it’s important for all of us not to really forget that. There’s so much more that I would love to do and I’ll always be here from an artist’s standpoint to lend my support to whatever it is, whether it being his parents needing me in the future.

I just feel like whether it’s Trayvon or it’s a kid in Houston, Texas, or a kid in Pittsburgh, or a kid in New York City, I think this won’t be the first and the last time that we are forced to face these kind of issues dealing with some of the things that we consider to be black and white. I feel most people that you talk to about this, they feel like it was a clear-cut situation and obviously we were wrong with the outcome of the situation.I think by me having the platform that I do have, it’s important for me not to let something like this fall to the wayside.

I have to be keen to speak on not just the Trayvon Martin situation but also some of the things in this world that are just totally unfair. I mean the other day, there was a 15-year-old girl who had been raped and the guy had been sentenced and then he came back and the judge changed his mind. He ended up giving the guy 30 days in jail or something; it was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s not a black and white thing but it shows how the laws are set up and whom they are made to protect. It’s an unfortunate situation for a lot of people.

I know there are mad videos of you giving away various jewelry, do you think this is probably going to be something that you don’t give away?
This might sound a little freakish to you but I told my brother and my mom that if something ever happens to me, I want them to bury me with this chain. I know it’s the kind of stuff that a lot of people don’t like to talk about, which is death, but at the end of the day I feel like it means that much to me. If I was ever give it away, it would probably be to his mom or his dad or to his brother. If they came and told me they wanted it, I would give it to them.