t.i.’s new video protests the killings of black men by police in america
‘Is it because of my people? Is it because of my sneakers?’ he asks in Black Man, featuring Meek Mill, Quavo and RaRa.
T.I. has released a powerful new video for Black Man, a track from his just-released EP Us Or Else, which he says in a statement he "was compelled to write after the repeated deaths of unarmed black citizens at the hands of police".
Opening onto the scene of a traffic stop -- a situation that led to the deaths of a number of unarmed black people, including Philando Castile and Sandra Bland -- the video shows Quavo in a car, getting pulled over, with the lyrics telling the police he has an ID for medical marijuana, before he runs away to a bolthole -- "Black Man running from the law like Pac-Man" the lyrics follow.
Meek Mill is seen in church at a funeral with a casket-view shot emphasising the situation, before T.I. appears at a street protest where placards read, "Know your history" and "White silence perpetuates violence," as the lyrics reference the killing of teenager Michael Brown, which led to protests in Ferguson, the killing of unarmed mental health therapist Charles Kinsey in Florida, and the killing of Freddie Gray in Baltimore.
The refrain asks, "Is it because of my people? Is it because of my sneakers?" and is reminiscent of the 23 Ways campaign, in which Beyoncé, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Alicia Keys and more listed many innocuous situations that have led to the killing of black people by police in America -- including: riding in your girlfriend's car, with a child in the back (Philando Castile); failing to signal a lane change (Sandra Bland); running to the bathroom in your own apartment (Ramalah Graham); selling cigarettes outside of a corner store (Eric Garner); making eye contact (Freddie Gray); wearing a hoodie (Trayvon Martin); calling for help after an accident (Renisha McBride); holding a fake gun (Tamir Rice, India M Beaty, John Crawford III); and laughing (Rekia Boyd).