In wake of protests and rioting following the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray, Wale went to the city of Baltimore to speak directly with high school students there.
The rapper, along with Baltimore pastor Rev. Jamal Bryant, spoke at Frederick Douglass High School in the city today (April 29). Traveling down from New York, Wale opened up to the students about his own personal experiences with police, and intently listened to what the students themselves had to say about what’s been going on. Due to the riots after Freddie’s funeral on Monday (April 27), all Baltimore schools were closed the following day, with the students returning to school Wednesday.
Freddie Gray was chased down and arrested by members of the Baltimore Police department on April 12. Witnesses say that police used excessive force He mysteriously ended up in a coma after the incident and suffered injuries to his spinal cord, including three cracked vertebrae. 80% of his spine was severed. He died the following Sunday (April 19) at the age of 25, causing a major uproar throughout the city. Youth were on the streets on Monday rioting and protesting, garnering worldwide attention. This case is still under investigation.
With everything going on, Wale made it a point to come to the city, specifically after hearing kids labeled as “thugs” and “hoodlums,” even from city officials including Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. He said to Fox News:
“Regardless of what’s happened out here, these are the young leaders of tomorrow and they have to look in the mirror and see something better than what they’re being perceived as on TV. We need each other. We need our community leaders to come step forward and we need these kids to understand that somebody believes in them. I believe in them, Jamal believes in them and there’s a lot of people in this community that believe in these kids.”
You can check out the full video of Wale speaking to these students here. I’m personally very proud of my favorite rapper for reaching out to the Baltimore community right now. Though he’s not directly from Baltimore, he is from the surrounding D.C./Maryland/Virginia area, and it’s nice to see him speaking to these kids. It’s important for these young kids especially to be uplifted and allowed to openly express how they’re feeling about police brutality and the conditions of their city. There’s more going on than people realize or that is reported by the media, and I’m glad that it’s being brought to light from these students and others down in the streets of the city, specifically through social media. I truly commend Wale for taking the time to inspire and listen to them.
Image via Fox News DC