The hip-hop community has been particularly vocal about the tragic shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. ?uestlove, Big Boi and Wyclef Jean, like so many other Americans, have spoken out in the support of the 17-year-old boy who was murdered while walking home through a gated Florida community. During an interview with MTV News in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Young Jeezy expressed both his concern and support with equal vigor.
“I feel very deeply as a community leader and as a product of my culture,” the self-proclaimed Thug Motivator said. “I feel like we all got to get together and stop this, ’cause I have a son his age and I just feel like that could’ve been either of our children.”
Martin was walking from the store to his dad’s home in the Sanford, Florida, gated community on February 26 when he was spotted by community watchman George Zimmerman. According to reports, Zimmerman, who was suspicious of the teen who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, called 911, but was instructed by the dispatcher not to pursue Martin. By the time police arrived on the scene, Zimmerman had shot Trayvon dead and claimed self-defense.
Police did not arrest Zimmerman, who they claim is protected by the so-called “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows Floridians to shoot anyone they believe is threatening them. Martin, however, did not have a weapon. All police found on his body was a bag of Skittles, a can of iced tea and a cellphone. On Thursday (March 22), the Sanford police chief announced that he was temporarily stepping down due to overwhelming pressure from the case.
On Wednesday in New York City, demonstrators flooded Union Square in support of Martin in what was dubbed the Million Hoodie March .
The tragic incident has forced Jeezy to think about his own children. “My son is a good kid. Does he do stuff? Of course, that’s what kids do. But nobody’s child should be shot in cold blood for anything, especially if they didn’t harm or hurt another individual,” he said.
The fact that Martin is black and Zimmerman is Hispanic has added a racial sting to the killing, but Jeezy downplayed the racial element and called for unity. “I feel the racial line and the tension of it, I get it, but we’re gonna stand strong on the black and the brown side on this one,” he said. “We’re gonna stand together. I betcha that.”
The Snowman urges that everyone lend their voice because there is a bigger societal issue at hand. “This is real, I understand that there are a lot of things goin’ on in the world and times are hard for everybody right now, but when you start having adults kill children for any reason, then we’re on our way to something we don’t want to be at,” he said. “The minute we accept that, we stand for nothing.”