The Juice Podcast: Ferguson, Michael Brown & the Importance of Hip-Hop Artists

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Protesters are pushed back by police on August 19, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

Ever since unarmed, college-bound Michael Brown was shot six times and killed by Ferguson, Miss. police officer Darren Wilson, eyes and hearts all over the world have been glued to social media streams, internet livecasts and traditional news outlets; mine included. From New York I watched as the situation devolved, then improved, then seemed to sink even deeper into dischord. I was devastated and awed by the extremes unfolding on the streets of Ferguson, all the while checking in on friends reporting from the front lines.

The injustice and racism that are the roots of what's occurring in Ferguson has been ongoing -- just not spotlighted so intensely (at least, not in recent memory). But this is a story and a circumstance that is bigger than all of us, and it will take all of us for it to be dealt with. That starts with awareness, which includes feeding and being receptive to all that's occurring. On all sides.

From the back-and-forth between the people and the police, the absence of and search for leadership, the dissemination and reaction to real-time events via social media and news outlets (of varying quality), and whether artists should feel obligated to speak on the situation in Ferguson and its larger implications -- the topics and problems are legion.

All of that said, for this week's The Juice Podcast I invited friends and colleagues Rembert Browne (Grantland), Brandon "Jinx" Jenkins (Complex), Sean Stout (Complex) and Damien Scott (Complex) to join and touch on all the topics mentioned above. All four reported on the ground from Ferguson over the past week, and all have distinct stories from their work in Missouri that deserve to be heard. This episode of The Juice Podcast is longer than most of our previous episodes, but I couldn't cut the conversation short (until time ran out for one of our guests), because this is a conversation that I felt needed to be had, needs to be heard, needs to be shared, and -- most importantly -- needs to continue.

Thank you to Rem, Jinx, Dame and Sean for reliving their experiences for the sake of others and for going down to Ferguson to share the stories of the citizens affected by the events on the ground -- the most valuable stories of all.