Rapper J. Cole visits Ferguson to support protesters

“I’m tired of being desensitized to the murder of black men. I don’t give a f**k if it’s by police or peers. This s**t is not normal.”


Ikenna Anyoku

Internet Culture

Published Aug 19, 2014   Updated May 30, 2021, 6:06 pm CDT

Rapper J. Cole took an unannounced trip this weekend to the site of Michael Brown’s shooting death to meet with and show support to the protesters in Ferguson, Mo.

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The 29-year-old Cole has been one of the most outspoken celebrities regarding the events surrounding the shooting in Ferguson.

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Last week he released a song titled “Be Free,” inspired by the tragic killing. The song contains excerpts from a bystander to Brown’s shooting death. The lyrics call for an end to senseless violence against African-Americans.

On Aug. 13, Cole tweeted an impassioned plea, his first Twitter post in almost a month:


— J. Cole (@JColeNC) August 13, 2014

He followed that with the release of “Be Free” on Aug. 15, along with a statement on his blog about the desensitization of the murder of black men and his desire for the violence to come to an end:

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Rest in Peace to Michael Brown and to every young black man murdered in America, whether by the hands of white or black. I pray that one day the world will be filled with peace and rid of injustice. Only then will we all Be Free.

There was a time in my life when I gave a fuck. Every chance I got I was screaming about it. I was younger. It’s so easy to try to save the world when you’re in college. You got nothing but time and no responsibility. But soon life hits you. No more dorms, no more meal plan, no more refund check. Nigga need a job. Nigga got rent. Got car note. Cable bill. Girlfriend moves in and becomes wife. Baby on the way. Career advances. Instagram is poppin. Lebron leaves Miami. LIFE HITS. We become distracted. We become numb. I became numb. But not anymore. That coulda been me, easily. It could have been my best friend. I’m tired of being desensitized to the murder of black men. I don’t give a fuck if it’s by police or peers. This shit is not normal.

I made a song. This is how we feel.

Although the trip was unannounced, photos and videos of Cole hugging and praying with residents and imploring them to vote have surfaced all over social media.

A video of J. Cole’s speech:

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Photo via thecomeupshow/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Aug 19, 2014, 3:23 pm CDT