The Zone-6 East Atlanta rapper 21 Savage, government name She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, last year started a financial Literacy program called ’21 Savage Bank Account’ where 21 kids were the recipient of $1000 and given tips on saving and responsible spending. He went further releasing a documentary about financial literacy which is an important aspect that needs to be taught in the black community to escape generations of poverty.
21 savage recently appeared on Jimmy Fallon performing his song entitled “A Lot” off his sophomore album, I Am Greater Than I Was, but this time with a twist. 21 would rap “been through some things, but I couldn’t imagine my kids being stuck at the border, Flint still need water.” Five days after his performance he would be arrested by ICE. Yes, the same immigration agency who were responsible for detaining children in concentration camps at the border. The same ICE that 21 Savage seems to have alluded to just days earlier. ICE claims that his visa has expired, but 21’s legal team refutes this, you can read further information about his situation here.
What this had got me thinking about is, why the government would try and discredit a man from the streets of Atlanta, claiming that his entire persona is made up? History then gave me all the answers I needed. During the times of slavery, slave owners would keep a watchful eye on their enslaved people for fear of revolts in the form of slave patrols.
These slave patrols are the origins of most of our police force today. It is to no one’s surprise that some of these racist ideologies are still present in law enforcement now. Ida B. Wells was an activist and at one point the only Black woman to be an editor of a major city newspaper.
In 1919, she was put on a government watch list as the great “negro agitator” after she made an effort to honor 13 Black soldiers that were hung before a proper appeal.
J. Edgar Hoover, the then head director of the FBI, would focus his efforts on Black civil rights activists. Hoover’s primary objective was to prevent the rise of a ‘messiah’ capable of unifying Black people.
Fred Hampton, the founder of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party, was asleep on his mattress next to his pregnant wife when the Chicago police raided his apartment and killed him where he laid.
The government has always been afraid of the rise of Black Americans. Another example of this fear is the famous COINTELLPRO (counterintelligence program), which was originally constructed to battle against Communist ideology from spreading, amongst the American public, in the midst of the Cold War against Russia. J. Edgar Hoover, the then head director of the FBI, would focus his efforts on Black civil rights activists. Hoover’s primary objective was to prevent the rise of a ‘messiah’ capable of unifying Black people. His list included Martin Luther King, who he called “ the most effective and dangerous negro leader” shortly after his “I Have a Dream” speech. MLK was wiretapped for years and the FBI even tried to defame him using such tactics as sending threating anonymous letters in hopes he would commit suicide, after receiving news he would win a Nobel Peace Prize.
The government would do anything in their power to disrupt the movement. FBI agents called Stockley Carmichael’s, a leader of The Black Panther Party, mother and lied telling her that people in the party wanted Stokley dead. He left the country soon after the phone call. The bodyguard who accompanied Malcolm X on the day he was assassinated was an undercover policeman. Fred Hampton, the founder of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party, was asleep on his mattress next to his pregnant wife when the Chicago police raided his apartment and killed him where he laid. The police received a blueprint of Hampton’s apartment shortly before the raid, from a paid informant who was Hampton’s bodyguard.
These aren’t archaic tools of the suppressor that are no longer in use. It’s still happening today, take for example the Memphis Police Department (MPD). The MPD created a fake page on social media to monitor anyone who had liked posts associated with the Black Lives Matter movement. Memphis police went as far as compiling a list of names and holding briefings discussing addresses, associates, and social media profiles. The department insisted on spying on protests claiming that they “would always have somebody there, be it a uniform presence or somebody that was in a plainclothes presence.” These are some of the many examples of black progress being halted by the powers at be. Even the young man who hasn’t made a concerted effort to change his life for the better. The government has revealed its hand, again and again, showing that their intentions cannot be trusted. 21 Savage’s arrest is another example of our government’s ulterior motives. What these motives are I don’t know, but with their track record I know they’re not to be trusted.
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