While opinions vary, the majority of hip-hop artists who have voiced their opinions on George Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin disagree with the jury’s decision. Webbie doesn’t say that he thinks Zimmerman is innocent, but he doesn’t wish jail upon him either.
“I can’t see me saying, ‘Man y’all should put him in jail’… No I’m gonna leave that to God’s hands,” the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, rapper told MTV News on Thursday. “God blessed him. God watched him and God didn’t want to put him in there with the animals in the jungle.”
Webbie often refers to and gives thanks to a higher power, even if his series of Savage Life albums don’t exactly qualify as gospel music. His Trill Entertainment labelmate and close friend Lil Boosie was indicted on a first-degree murder charge in 2010 and is currently serving time, so Webbie is quite sympathetic to prisoners behind bars. “A lot of people should be able to come home from jail and get another chance,” he argued. “A lot of people, a lot of people, and I’m not just talkin’ about my brother, I’m talkin’ about a lot of people man.”
On Wednesday, “RapFix Live” host Sway Calloway gathered Wyclef Jean, Prodigy, political activist Kevin Powell and defense attorney Stacey Richman for a very special episode of MTV News’ weekly hip-hop show. They all urged the youth to get involved with their local government to force change in the judicial system. “What should young people do? We should challenge ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), who has been responsible in those 20 states putting forth stand your ground laws from Florida to Texas,” Powell urged. “Y’all got to descend on Florida and say until these laws are repealed we’re not leaving this state.”
Atlanta rap star Killer Mike, spoke to MTV News on Tuesday and offered a different solution, one that plays on the racial aspects of the case and calls on blacks in America to flex their collective economic muscle. “You shouldn’t support no resorts, no hotels. If you go to Florida to visit, stay with your auntie. Don’t go in a hotel. Don’t go to Miami for Memorial Day. Don’t go to Daytona Beach for spring break. Don’t do anything until that state shows you that we are willing to fully prosecute, equally and fairly, according to the humanity of the victim and not the color,” he urged.
“If we are willing to close off our community to close off our purses and pockets to the people or to the state and system that we feel are oppressing us, watch change start to happen in greater immediacy than is happening now.”