Reverend Al Sharpton is defending Hip-Hop after the genre and culture were criticized for being violent as the community mourns Migos rapper Takeoff.
The 68-year-old shared his thoughts on society as a whole with TMZ when asked for a solution to gun violence.
“First of all, no one has been more on gun violence and saying we need to deal with things in Hip-Hop, but I remember growing up, R&B artists used to get in shootouts and fights,” said Al Sharpton. “This is nothing new. Social media makes it where more people know about it.”
He continued, “You have a lot of people in Hip-Hop that are very responsible, that are very creative, that help their community. So we should not act like Hip-Hop is synonymous with violence.”
As he spoke, the civil rights leader added more to his stance that foul play occurs in and out of Hip-Hop.
“Those that are violent, we ought to deal with. But a thug is a thug whether they’re singing jazz, whether they’re R&B, whether they’re singing gospel… I know some preachers packing. So let’s not make it just about Hip-Hop. Let’s make it about people that are not acting like they ought to act.”
Takeoff, real name Kirsnick Khari Ball, was shot and killed on Nov. 1 in Houston. Quality Control issued a statement claiming the rapper was struck by stray bullets. No arrests have been made in the violent act that left two others wounded.
“Mark my words,” said Houston Police Chief Troy Finner according to CNN. “This great city, with our great citizens, with our police department – we will find who’s responsible for it. … We’re going to get them in custody, OK?”
A celebration of life for the slain Migos member has been planned for Friday (Nov. 11) at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena.