“Unfortunately, I’m not surprised cops are still murdering people. But I am surprised that the law enforcement did not do the correct thing with illegal chokeholds. A chokehold because of a man stating his piece—telling them he didn’t do anything. An illegal chokehold!” the Queens rapper said about Garner.
According to Nas, whose real name is Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones, many people are afraid to stand up for what’s right. However, they need to overcome that fear to elicit change.
“I’m waiting for people to stop being scared,” he added. “Mainly whites in power and in government, to not be scared of the race issue. Not be scared to say, ‘This is wrong, and this has to change.’ Not be scared to do what’s right.”
Unfortunately, the legendary rapper said, many people are worried about backlash from fighting police violence. “But at some point, you got to come out and do the right thing. No matter who you are, you got to put the people first.”
Those people have to realize that it’s more than just “about your career, your money, your stature,” he added.
Nas labeled America’s handling of racist police killings as “embarrassing” to the nation as a whole. But it does place artists in an important role, he said.
“It makes artists create and speak,” Mr. Jones shared. “The way James Baldwin did. The way Stevie Wonder did. The way Marvin Gaye said, ‘What’s going on?’ We are the results of the bulls-t. I’m here, partially, because of the bulls-t that’s been going on.”
Recently, Nas was spotted participating in last month’s Millions March NYC, an action against the non-indictments in the Garner and Michael Brown cases and police brutality. Mogul Russell Simmons and former Def Jam VP Kevin Liles also joined him:
Nas has never shied away from politics during his career, with songs such as “I Gave You Power,” “One Mic” and “American Way” tackling issues such as gun violence, uprisings and “sellouts” in the black community.