Just after dropping his emotional on-wax reaction to the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Friday (Aug. 15), J. Cole visited the victim’s hometown of Ferguson, MO, where community unrest is still afoot. Several accounts by onlookers suggested that the rapper was primarily focused on memorializing the slain teen, opting out of media coverage and photo ops.
Visiting the very ground where Brown was gunned down by Ferguson police, Cole was captured in a pensive moment as he reflected in front of a vigil. He also spoke with a few of the town’s residents.
Accompanied with his song “Be Free," Cole wrote a reflective message:
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.
Peep more photos from J. Cole’s visit to Ferguson below.
— ℓεωιɲsкι. (@thefentybarb) August 17, 2014
Yes Its Been Comfirmed J.Cole (Bae) In Ferguson Right Now Lawdddd pic.twitter.com/qj2m4dBN8G
— Jesse's ForeverGIRL (@BelAmour_) August 17, 2014
— John Eligon (@jeligon) August 17, 2014
— Call me CONCEITED (@idts_the_baby) August 17, 2014