Rapper and Actress Yo-Yo Says, ‘In hip-hop, we let a lot of names be called, but coon was never one of them’
LOS ANGELES – Putting a local face on the story of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Sanford, Florida teen who was killed by a neighborhood watch captain February 26, today, Los Angeles’ Black civil rights leaders called out for justice for Trayvon Martin and other examples of cases similar to Martin’s in California.
Led by Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper executive publisher Danny Bakewell Sr., hundreds of people gathered on Los Angeles’ Crenshaw Boulevard to stand in solidarity with African-Americans around the country.
“There is a Trayvon Martin in every Black community in America,” Danny Bakewell Sr. told a crowd of reporters. “Oscar Grant Jr. was shot and killed in Oakland. Mitrice Richardson, a lovely young woman, who was found dead after the Los Angeles Sheriff’s detained and released her in the middle of the night in Malibu. Two years later, we still don’t know who killed her. More recently, Anthony Dunn Jr., a 31-year old Black man who worked for the post office, died after his legs were severed when he was struck by another vehicle and pinned. The unlicensed driver who was talking on their cellphone at the time of the accident, was not detained and the City Attorney has only filed misdemeanor charges. We want to make sure that America knows and particularly Los Angeles knows that there needs to be respect and value placed on Black life. There is a Trayvon Martin in every Black community in America. We want to keep the peace, but you’re making it hard. You’re making it hard when the LAPD puts out an all points bulletin when two dog heads turn up in a dumpster. The police will drop everything to look for the killer of a dog but won’t put in the same time and resources when a Black life is lost. Black lives are important, our children matter.”
Former First African Methodist Episcopal Church pastor, now USC professor Reverend Cecil “Chip” Murray said, “This is a testing time. Not just for Florida, but for our nation. It is a vulgar society that ignores its youth. It is a vulgar society that will mistreat the next generation that should carry on the heritage of our constitution. This is a trying time and each of us is on trial. To do nothing means we are guilty. To do the wrong thing means we are guilty. To be in ignorance means that we are guilty.”
Rapper and actress Yolanda “Yo-Yo” Whitaker called out the hip-hop community to stand up for justice for Trayvon Martin.
“Hip-hip is 30 years old,” Yo-Yo told the crowd. “It’s a billion dollar industry. I know that we [rappers] have changed this world, but I encourage the entire industry to get involved and take a stand. In hip-hop, we let a lot of names be called, but coon was never one of them.”
Groups participating in today’s press conference and rally included: the Brotherhood Crusade, NAACP, SCLC, Mothers in Action, the Nation of Islam, and the National Council of Negro Women. For more information and photos, log onto: www.facebook.com/lasentinelnewspaper or www.lasentinel.net.
Photos by Vallerie Goodloe