UPDATED 8/17, 12:20 p.m. ET: Lloyd’s of London has issued a statement following T.I.’s July call to action, which was swiftly met by an in-depth rejoinder from Tip. The company’s comments echo its same admissions from back in June; neither T.I. nor his detailed requests for reparations are addressed directly.
“Businesses in the Lloyd’s market have operated for over 330 years, and there is much to be proud of in our long collective history,” reads the company’s statement, per Forbes. “However, there are aspects of the market’s past about which we cannot feel pride and this includes the fact that insurers in the Lloyd’s market insured vessels that were involved in the eighteenth and nineteenth century slave trade. As representatives of today’s Lloyd’s market, we are deeply sorry for this. We cannot unfortunately undo the past, but we would like to play an active role in trying to level the playing field for Black and Minority Ethnic people in today’s world. On 10 June we announced an initial action plan that focuses on education, research and significant funding for charities and other organisations that promote opportunity and inclusion for Black and Minority Ethnic colleagues. There is much more to do and we will work with our Cultural Advisory Group to determine our longer term plans. We will update our website as our plans develop.”
T.I. posted his subsequent four-page response on Instagram, opening with, "Although we appreciate you reaching out and again stating Lloyd’s is deeply sorry for its role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, we find Lloyd’s actions to rectify the situation to be admirable but insufficient.” He goes on to note:
"The concept of ‘leveling the playing field’ that you refer to in your letter is a concept that does not sufficiently address the 400-plus years of oppression, marginalization and inequality. It does not address in an expedient way how Lloyd’s intends to dedicate a considerable percentage of your $56 billion empire (that Lloyd’s built off of the backs of our ancestors) to fight the lingering effects of the ‘shameful role’ your company played in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. From systemic oppression and injustice, to sub-standard living conditions and education for our children, to the malicious cycle of mass incarceration and the continuous genocide of our people at the hands of the descendants of colonizers, who fight to perpetuate this atrocity in the name of ‘law enforcement,’ we have suffered long enough."
After a slew of fleshed-out facts and a reiteration of the specific demands for reparations, T.I.’s powerful letter concludes, “Although this epistolary back and forth is enjoyable (I have not typed this much ever), I propose we set up a face-to-face meeting at your convenience at a location of your choosing, to discuss these matters and how we can move forward."
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In a letter to Lloyd’s, the rapper put the company “on notice.”
“Our people have been financially impaired & economically disabled due to the systemic oppression and institutional racism it leaves behind,” T.I. captioned his Instagram post of the letter. “TIME TO TAKE WHAT WE KNOW OUR ANCESTORS DESERVED & DIED FOR.”
“Your commitment to reparations is an honorable one, but commitment without tangible actions is merely lip service,” he wrote in the letter. “We demand a specific call to action that includes, but is not limited to direct reparations be made to the families who were ripped from their native lands and sold as property while your company profited from the whole shameful endeavor.”
T.I. recommended four reparations methods to Lloyd’s: 10 percent ownership of Lloyd's be given to the descendants of African slaves, accurate annual tracking of reparations, a $1 million cash loan (with 1% interest) to every African-American adult once in their lifetime for the next 200 years, and at least one African-American member on its 15-seat board.
At the end of the letter, the rapper implored Lloyd’s to present a “comprehensive reparation plan” ready to execute by the fall of 2020. “We have waited long enough and our community deserves real action and much more than empty apologies or platitudes,” he wrote.
In June, Lloyd’s recognized its role in the slave trade and vowed to redeem itself, which included hiring more Black employees and pledging funds to charities that push for diversity and inclusion.