Since St. Louis police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Saturday (Aug. 9), the chaos in Ferguson, Mo. has escalated into a nationwide crisis.
While artists like J. Cole and Elle Varner have taken their talents to the mic to uplift the community, rapper Nelly was criticized for his delayed response to the unrest in his hometown.
Nelly eventually shared his thoughts on Brown’s death at length on Instagram but VIBE caught up with the rapper at Lambert-St. Louis International airport on Friday (Aug. 15) to speak about Brown’s passing.
When asked why he didn’t issue a timely response, he said, “When [the shooting] initially happened, I was in Finland. I don’t have enough information. I don’t know what to say so I said, ‘At this time, my blessings and my strength go out to the Brown family’ because at the end of the day, it’s not an injustice, it’s murder. It’s an injustice if [the officer] does not pay for it.”
He says the call to action is supporting those closest to the situation. “What we need to do is support the Brown family because we don’t know. We [can’t] plan against [the police] that plan and strategize for a living. That’s their job. We got barbers out here. We got fathers. We out here on emotion because these are our babies so you can’t attack from that aspect ’cause you can’t win.”
Nelly continued, “We cannot use our last resort first. Now they’re prepared. There is no element of surprise. We the smallest in their world. Black people make up 13 percent of St. Louis. We not making sure we do the right things because we’re so stuck thinking about this shit. We gotta plan ahead. We can’t blame the ones that don’t know better.
There’s three of us in this situation: The ones that don’t know better—can’t blame them ’cause they ain’t seen better—the ones that know better but act like they don’t, and the ones that know better that’s trying to say something but we killing them and they got the best plan.”
He also looked at the positives in the tragedy. “Keep the peace, keep the focus in mind,” he said. “The focus is this young man lost his life and he wanted a future, he had a future, so let’s make sure we take the positive out of that, embellish and make sure that young brothers and sisters that came out of this same situation are able to go on and live in his name.”
Additional reporting provided by Aliya S. King, who is on the ground at Ferguson. Post will be updated with video when available.