During the past week, the demonstrations calling for justice for Freddie Gray have captured the attention of America, even more so when the protests turned violent on Monday, April 27. As with the untimely death of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Trayvon Martin there was much discussion on social media and in the press about the effectiveness and ethics of riots, with celebrities and thinkers championing either sides. Surprisingly, one of our more vocal hip-hop stars and advocates remained quiet throughout the unrest. However, The Game has finally broken his silence about the issue and the events in an editorial he penned for Billboard.
In the piece, aptly titled "Young Black Men Are Targets," Game challenges not only the system that allowed Gray's life to be wantonly taking away, but also the way and the mediums through which we the people are allowed to react. He states: "I haven't posted anything on social media because when it was Ezell Ford or Trayvon Martin and I spoke my piece and made posts, people got ignorant in the comments. I had to defend my posts and I didn't want to do that this time. Social media can be a drive for negativity, and I wanted to wait until I wrote this letter in order to get my point across. You'd be surprised at the people you are friends with, or were friends with, and the views they share. It may make you want to disassociate yourself with somebody."
The Game compares Baltimore 2015 with the LA Riots of 1992, which he was a part of and vividly remembers. He empathizes with the youth, often characterized as "thugs" and "animals," the community outrage and the need to act. However, he also sympathizes with the reality of their future: "So I understand the anger of our African-American youth, but I also understand the outcome of what rioting does in your own neighborhood. Coming from the '92 riots after we burnt everything down and f---ed everything up, we were pissed off because what we were used to wasn't there."
Game goes on to address the police and defend Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who he believes is in a tough position. His perspective is an interesting one, especially when he calls back to history or his own anecdotes. You can read the full interview here.