Music has been ingrained in our communities since the beginning of time. Believe it or not, before social media, there was something called 8-track tapes and CD’s. In this time of music, there has been a lot of influential people who have graced our ears and we have welcomed them into of our homes. Among those is rapper T.I. or T.I.P. Better known as Clifford Harris Jr.
When some people think of rappers, they think of sultry music; gang violence; half dressed women; explicit language and partying. Some of us think of it as an artist’s way to tell their story, share their experiences and tell the truth about the world they live in. What does this have to do with being someone who could be considered a revolutionary?
In order to be apart of the revolution, you must be someone who is of the people! You must have lived their struggle and not be someone who is on the outside looking in. You would have to had lived their lives, shared their pain, having felt their anguish and angst! It would be quite hard to be of the people and not be able fully understand the depth and pain of the people.
You also have to be bold enough to say the things that may upset your people of your community. Tell us the truth when you know we don’t want to hear it! Push us in a manner that is done with a stern talking to, but with love. You must be able to feel the passion behind your message! Even if it hurts.
You may read this and think, “You can’t possible be talking about T.I.?”
Well, why not?
Clifford Harris, Jr. is just like many of us.
He was born and raised in an impoverished neighborhood. He was someone that no one expected to be able to make it out of his situation. I’m sure he was someone that others thought would either die or end up in jail. He has gone through life, made several mistakes, as we all do (considering the fact that he is human, he will continue to do so). He has flaws, but it is his platform, talent and influence which makes him perfect to be part the elite.
Like the many men and women before us, who have driven through the revolution/The Movement/social justice work in different ways. He has had his share of ups and down. He also decided to take a stance and say, it’s better to stand for something, than to fall for anything.
T.I. still does his concerts and tours, but he is also using his platform to promote and encourage change in the Black community. From the calling for the boycott of Prada and Gucci, to the new project he is working on called Us Or Else: A Letter To The System, he has some things he is doing. On thing is this song called: We Will Not. This particular body of work is a wake-up call that we as Black people need to quicken our minds and spirits to unite to stand against anything that is oppressing us.
T.I. did a body of work that I love called Warzone. This was genius! Typically, in videos, you will see the White cops beating or killing Black men. In cases like Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, etc. instead of giving us the typical optics, he reversed it! This artistry is exemplified in this video was done in a manner to wake up other cultures. It’s asks this question: “How would you feel if it was you?”
When was the last time you saw a music video for a #blackman killing a #whiteperson? Well you will find it in #WARZONE. It lets us all know that although you can’t experience what we are going through, you will at least be able to view and see that its your face and your race being treated in such a manner as us.
I am hoping that T.I. stays on the path that he is on. That he will continue to become more vocal and continue to let the revolution be televised. I will also say to my people: Let him not be the only one to speak!
We do have others, including Killer Mike and David Banner and others that work with no platform to speak of whom continue to fight for us. They continue to educate us, but they don’t have to be the only chosen ones. It is all of our responsibility to be a revolutionary in our own homes, jobs and communities. Let’s not leave the burden and task to educate the masses on a few people. We all carry the burden or racism and oppression against us a a people. So, we all have to carry and execute the education and revolutionary task along with our brothers and sisters!
The revolution shall be televised, and it starts with all of us!