Chicago rapper Vic Mensa channeled his city’s collective outrage over Laquan McDonald‘s shooting death by former officer Jason Van Dyke, and the city’s apparent cover-up, into the hard-hitting track "16 Shots." As he explains in the newest episode of "Clarify," Mensa understands the kind of disproportionately aggressive policing that lead to McDonald’s death well.
"It was around the time that I was, like, 12, 13 years old that I think I really began to feel Black, because I started to get treated different," Mensa explained to author and "Clarify" host Baratunde Thurston. "And police would see me outside of my school, and if I had my hands in my hoodie, call me over to the car—I got my hands in my hoodie—he’s like, ‘Take your hands out your hoodie before I punch you in the fucking face!’"
The Mic and Spotify series’ third episode, which focuses on policing and civil rights, features Thurston and Mensa’s conversation about McDonald and activism through art. Later, Thurston pivots to a fascinating roundtable with Mensa, activist and Mic senior editor Darnell L. Moore and NYPD officer Edwin Raymond (who is notably involved in a class-action lawsuit against the department over discriminatory policy) about the same issues.
Spotify, Mic and voter enrichment organization HeadCount launched "Clarify" in joint partnership earlier this month. The series, available in audio (through Spotify) and video formats, features musicians and activists discussing issues relevant to the election season. Check out this episode via Spotify or YouTube, and let us know what you think in the comments.
(H/t The New York Times)