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Artists talk consciously at the Made In America Festiveal

During his performance, J.Cole speaks on the incident in Ferguson and shows a video with clips showing police brutality in America.
During his performance, J.Cole speaks on the incident in Ferguson and shows a video with clips showing police brutality in America.
Photo by Astrid Stawiarz

Issues like the Ferguson Protests and the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Jonathan Crawford are becoming more frequent. The killing of black men and women at the hands of the local law enforcement is becoming more and more real and many African Americans are continuing to fear for their lives. One thing that is understood is that no matter how rich or important you are, being black and male can sometimes lead to a death sentence in society. Because of this, many artists are taking the time to speak on the problems in society. This was one popular theme of the many musicians who performed at the Made In America Music Festival in Philadelphia on August 30th and 31st.

J. Cole, who wrote a song for Michael Brown and the Ferguson incident, was one of the first artists who let his exact feelings be known about what happened, especially when most famous black people kept quiet about the incident. He visited the town of Ferguson and rallied with the people to discuss the injustices of what had been happening there, and in many places throughout the United States. During his set at the music festival, he showed a video that was compilation of clips from the March on Washington to the arrest of Eric Garner that led to his death. In his set he urged people to be aware of the issues that blacks have faced and realize how they are still in the fight for freedom and equality.

Kanye West also had something to say about the injustices in the world but not as in depth as J. Cole. During his hour-long set, he discussed how cruel the world can be and how society belittles people of color by treating them poorly. He discussed his hardships of his interracial marriage being ridiculed in the media and telling the crowd that they have to do better. With his performance of “New Slaves” he talks to the crowd about being a slave to culture and society and how it is leading people to be screwed over by the leaders of it. In these times, this message is much needed.

The last artist who spoke on the “sickness” of the world today was Pharrell, who declared that women should be allowed to fix the issues in the world because they have been the only group that haven’t had the chance. He told the women that he had faith in them to be the problem solvers and that he supports gender equality. He ended his set with, “Happy”, to leave the crowd in a good mood.

With these people speaking out and trying to create peace in their most creative ways, it does leave the question of why more famous people of color are not speaking out. With prominent black stars like Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Oprah, Tyler Perry and others of the highest echelon of celebrity keeping their silence about the issues in the world, it leaves many conscious people disappointed as to why the people with the most clout and voice are deciding to stay quiet.

All and all, with the artists who speak out, people’s ideas of what is and isn’t right in the world will change. Thankfully, there are some who care.

To see the video, click the link: http://youtu.be/saM5osufgVE