“The cultural community is the community that can speak the loudest to change the human condition.~”The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
On July 19, I had the opportunity to join community activist Deric Muhammad and a host of Houston rap artists in a private meeting with Mayor Sylvester Turner for a very candid discussion. Topics included police misconduct and policing in the Black community, lack of Black cops in the predominately Black areas, conflict resolution, the shooting of Alva Braziel, stemming the city’s homicide rate, lack of jobs and educational advancement opportunities in overlooked areas of the city and more. There were a lot of tense moments, however, a lot of solutions were put on the table to address the problems. Artists and industry giants in attendance included: Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Willie D, Trae The Truth, K-Rino, Lil KeKe, Z-Ro, Killa Kyleon, Michael Artis, OG Killa Kaos, C.Stone The Breadwinner and more.
After the meeting, the artists headed over to Unity National Bank, the only Black-owned bank in Texas, to open up accounts as part of the national call to action for Blacks to support their own financial institutions. They were joined there by popular music star Just Brittany. John Scroggins, the bank’s president and CEO, and his staff welcomed and assisted the artists with exceptional customer service. He also talked to the group about the 50 year history of the bank and all they have to offer. “When you put your money into our bank, we get the opportunity to invest into our communities to help develop businesses and create jobs,” he said.
Back on April 3, 1968 during his last speech before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told Black people to take their money out of the White man’s bank and put it in our own bank. He was calling for us to redistribute the pain through economic withdrawal since our oppressor refused to put “fair treatment and justice” for us on their agenda. Last year during his national tour leading up to the 10.10.15 Justice Or Else! gathering in D.C., The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan resurrected the real Dr. King and in his name, called for us to redistribute the pain by boycotting economically from Black Friday to the beginning of this year. He also urged us to circulate the Black dollar within our community beyond the reported 6 hours it stays before going into others pocketbooks. The boycott was a huge success and corporate America took a major hit. “If Black lives don’t matter, then Black dollars you won’t have!” declared Min. Farrakhan.
Now, Atlanta rapper Killer Mike has been calling on his fellow artists to get behind Black-owned banks. He has inspired Atlanta residents to move $800,000 to the Black-owned Citizens Trust Bank.
This is all in direct response to the on-going extrajudicial killings of Blacks by police officers and no justice being served.
(Brother Jesse Muhammad is the founder of Brother Jesse Blog, speaker, social media strategist, and community servant based in Houston)
Very productive meeting w/Houston hip-hop artists. The ideas & solutions expressed will help move Houston forward. pic.twitter.com/c4wHEgV9zp
— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) July 20, 2016
— Jalelah Ahmed (@JalelahFox26) July 20, 2016
These are my friends and fellow rappers being the change that those who down talk them accuse them of not being. I salute the Rappers in H Town. Thanks for the call Paul Wall. Salutes Johnny Dang for being an ally to the community that u make money with. Special salutes to Brother Deric (Salaam Black man) & Willie D for using the moment to lead our dollars where there shud be. #BankBlackBankSmallBankLocal salutes H Town. Salutes TIP for showing cross south love like we always have & will do! #RIPPimpC
A photo posted by Killer Mike (@killermike) on