There is turmoil across the nation. The time is now to use our voices to insist on change. Unfortunately, people with closed minds label us racists because we want our black men, women and children not to be gunned down like savages. Although slavery was technically abolished more than a century ago, let me remind the world that our people deserve to be free.
We deserve to speak out against the injustices that plague communities of color. People often forget that, not long ago, dogs attacked us for peaceful protests. They put nooses around our necks and we swung from trees—displayed as America’s “strange fruit.”
I am a father of six black males: three young men ages 19 to 27 and three young sons under age 6. My sons deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. When we speak out against blatant injustices, trolls rise from the shadows and accuse us of being anti-police. My brother has served in law enforcement for more than 25 years. He has made detective and still has a great name in his field and in the community. The pathway to change involves good cops speaking out against crooked cops. We are fed up. We are tired. No one should be executed in the middle of the street, especially with his or her hands up.
Some of the greatest leaders of our time promoted peaceful resistance. I would never deny the value of peace, but people feel that they are under attack and that nobody hears or respects their demonstrations. The unrest in Charlotte, N.C., after the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott is a product of people simply being exhausted. They are sick and they are tired. Our communities lack hope, and their backs are against the wall. They are constantly reminded that white privilege is alive and well.
I accept people from all walks of life. If you label me a racist because I care about my friends and family, then you are part of the problem. Those who want to cripple us and get rid of our people are yet another generation of the Ku Klux Klan. We’re not going anywhere!
So what do we do? We have to reflect on these big corporations. Do they value us as producers and consumers? The biggest way to effect change is through spending power. If you don’t respect us, then we don’t respect you. Not all corporations are bad. Not all white people are bad. However, there is an ugly underground culture in this country full of those who feel that people of color are inferior.
If we stop empowering these big corporations who support the folk who want us gone, then we will show our power and cripple their pockets. I do not advocate hurting innocent people of any race or group. There is nothing cool about senseless violence. However, we can no longer ignore that liberty and justice never, ever applied to us all. America, the world is watching.
The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.
Anthony Hamilton is a Grammy Award-winning singer who has collaborated with a bevy of artists including Nas, Rick Ross, Carlos Santana, Jill Scott, Tupac and Al Green. In addition to his multiple chart-topping albums and singles, Hamilton earned a BET Award and has been praised by outlets including the New York Times, USA Today, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Essence and Billboard.