T.I. Issues a Call-to-Action in Open Letter to 'Us'

Matt Jones

Following open letters to President Donald Trump and former Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama, rapper T.I.'s pen springs back into action for a third letter to "us." 

In an interview with Ebony, the outspoken rapper, who recently released the politically charged project Us Or Else: Letter to the System, explains who "us" is comprised of.

"The Black community, the hip hop community or whoever is against the oppressive communities that have historically tried to bring us down," he says.  "Right now, I don’t necessarily think it’s a race thing. There are some White people riding with us just like it was in the Civil Rights Movement. It’s a community of people, and it’s a cause that transcends race, gender, sexual orientation, social status. Its people who are fighters for what’s right."

He also addresses his criticism of celebrities meeting with Trump. "I wasn’t as critical about them as I was [critical] about their ability to peep game," he explains. "I think they had honest intentions but they weren’t dealing with the most sincere person. When Trump sat down with them, he had an agenda. He met his agenda. What happened as far as their agenda? I don’t know."

"I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sitting down with people as long as you understand that there are needs to be met and purposes to be served," he continues. "Interviews, pictures, saying, 'This is a good man,' that serves his purpose. Just because they didn’t peep game, doesn’t mean you throw them away. We have to address people within our community and say, 'That wasn’t all the way right.' After we correct them, we have to move on. I don’t think my statement or DL [Hughley’s] statement should be used as ammunition to cast anyone aside. We all need each other and it’s going to take unity to get over this." 

In the letter, which arrives on the day of Trump's inauguration, Tip asks readers to "do something to contribute to transforming our community for the better." He encourages parents to educate their children about the criminal justice system, and invest in their communities by helping local businesses. 

"As we look to the future for US, there could not be a better time to assess where we go from here," he writes. "And while there’s currently great turmoil, there is even greater opportunity for US to work together to transform our community. Far too many of our children are fatherless, far too many of our mothers are standing in the prison waiting rooms and far too many of our young people feel hopeless.

The rapper continues: "We must work to reshape the need for our children to want to live so fast even if it means dying too young. Now, I am not here to demonize or vilify, but to pledge my commitment to help US do what needs to be done. You see if we continue to devalue ourselves, we cannot realistically expect respect from others."

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