Meek Mill Debuts New Song 'Stay Woke' While Wearing XXXTentacion Shirt at the 2018 BET Awards

Meek Mill has wasted no time making his presence known since his release from prison in April. At the BET Awards on Sunday (June 24), the Philadelphia rapper who has become a vocal fighter for criminal justice reform debuted his impassioned new song "Stay Woke," with a performance that touched heavily on police brutality and mass incarceration.

As Mill paced around a stage setup meant to mimic a dark and gloomy street, spitting lyrics like "they taught us to hate each other before we learn how to walk," various scenes played out around him: a young girl drew on the sidewalk with chalk, a man and woman argued and a group of black men formed a crowd. By the end of the song, actors portraying police officers flooded the stage and shots rang out. The performance ended with the chilling image of roughly a dozen people resembling prisoners standing behind bars.

Notably, Mill wore a black sweatshirt appearing to portray the faces of controversial rapper XXXTentacion and Jimmy Wopo, both of whom were killed by gun violence within hours of each other last week.

Mill began teasing "Stay Woke" earlier this week with a video on Twitter, where he discussed his time in prison and mentioned that prison workers are paid 80 cents per hour. "I felt like I got a responsibility from when I was locked up with certain dudes and with me leaving, knowing I've got the support I got... A lot of people stuck in their positions, they don't got resources," Mill said. "I always felt like I was responsible to reach back for a few and help them move forward and help them get light shed on their situation."

The new song features Miguel, who joined Mill onstage.

Last November, Mill was sentenced to two to four years in prison for violating probation, and spent five months in jail before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered his release. Recently, he has been fighting to get his 2008 convictions on drug and gun charges thrown out.

Watch a clip of his thought-provoking BET Awards performance below.


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