The verdict in a case dealing with the murder of Trayvon Martin came out recently and, unless you’ve been living under a rock (or are far outside of North America), you’ve probably heard about the outcome. George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who shot the unarmed Martin, stood accused of murder and has now been acquitted.
The reaction across the internet, mainstream media and our popular culture in general has been one of predictable disappointment and outrage.
Beyonce called in a concert for a moment of silence for Trayvon Martin, rapper Young Jeezy released a song in Martin’s memory and Russell Simmons called for peace after George Zimmerman was acquitted by a Florida jury in the death of the teenager.
And on twitter:
Diddy: “#myTruth I am blessed to have 6 beautiful kids. I’m hurt and I’m mad as hell! My heart goes out to the family. He followed him! (Expletive) That!”
Jordin Sparks: “What is happening?!”
Solange Knowles: “Is this not what our ancestors, grandfathers and fathers fought for…? Now I will be fighting for my son…”
Steve Harvey: “A Child is Dead & The Man that Killed Him is Free & Again The Child is Black…My Country Tis of Thee?”
Gabrielle Union: “Help! What’s the proper procedure when you’re followed by a random armed nutbag returning home from getting candy & iced tea?”
Whoopi Goldberg: “My heart is with trayvon martins family tonight, so my focus on them. No one else really matters”
Nicki Minaj: “And our taxes paid for that trial. We just paid to see a murderer walk free after killing an innocent unarmed little boy. #GodBlessAmerica”
Sophia Bush: “The wind is more than knocked out of me… My heart aches for this boy’s family. Justice System? I don’t think so. #justicefortrayvon”
Rihanna: “This is the saddest news ever!!! #whatsjustice #pray4theMartinFamily”
John Legend: “My heart hurts”
Lena Dunham: “No. My heart is with Sybrina Fulton, Rachel Jeantel, everyone who loved Trayvon and has been sent the message that his life didn’t matter.”
The most salient celebrity reaction in my view, however, came from the rapper Lupe Fiasco.
Try as I might, I can’t find much wrong with what Lupe had to say. I do not like George Zimmerman, nor do I agree with the decisions he made on that fateful night many months ago now. Trayvon should not have died, and his killer strikes me as an overzealous mall cop/vigilante.
Despite all of that, I still feel that Lupe is dead on.
Young black teens with decent heads on their shoulders are killed every day by other blacks for no good reason.
This one died for a piece of chicken.
This 3 year old died for no conceivable reason at all:
This one got murdered for getting pregnant:
And this woman’s child, like many other young black men, got killed fighting over some hoodrat:
I could go on, really, because this shit happens every day. Lupe is right to note that people have been “dancing to black death” for some time now. There is a lot of music out there that kind of glorifies the idea of killing for no good reason (ex: murder over a silly beef or over a girl, etc), yet people love it.
If you need an illustration of all of this, why not take a look at the urban community’s glorification of gang culture. What do gangs do, exactly? Are they not known for violent conduct and frequent maiming/murder of people for no good reason? Do innocent souls not perish at the hands of gangsters every day?
Yet not only do we not even bother to discuss the loss of those innocent lives to gang violence to the extent that we discuss Trayvon’s death, but we go on to glorify that culture in our music, dress, and everything else. Some of the same people expressing all of this sadness about the death of Trayvon and the verdict signaling some sort of “open season” on innocent young blacks are the same folks throwing up gang signs and glorifying a culture that promotes similar instances of murder for no good reason, all the while protecting perpetrators of such violence with silly “no snitching” rules and a total unwillingness to work with the police.
Young blacks have their lives stolen from them for absolutely no good reason at all in this society all the time, and it is usually other blacks doing the stealing. And yet in spite of all this, people only get up in arms when a white (or, in this case, a mestizo who could be mistaken for a white hispanic) person does the killing.
People are trying to say that the Trayvon case proves that black lives are less valuable. I don’t support Zimmerman, but I have to say that if this case supports the low worth of black life, then black-on-black violence (and the apparent tolerance of that violence by many) absolutely establishes it.
This man sums things up quite well:
Again, I don’t agree with the decisions made by George Zimmerman on that fateful night. Trayvon Martin’s death is a tragedy, but in the grand scheme of things I can’t see how it matters as much as our society seems to imply with the abundance of attention paid to the case. His is a drop in an ocean of innocent, young black lives taken for no good reason. The ethnicity of his murderer isn’t all that relevant to me: Blacks (and Hispanics, for that matter) are killing each other for FAR less, and nobody cares to talk about that or give lives lost to such internecine violence the kind of attention that Trayvon has gotten. This is a problem that really needs a solution.
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