J. Cole, Nelly and Hip-Hop Community Remain United in Support of Michael Brown, Ferguson

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mike brown funeralJ. Cole, Nelly, Chuck D, Diddy, Lauryn Hill and so many more influential stars in the hip-hop community continue to show their support for Michael Brown and the people of Ferguson, Missouri.

The hip-hop community has been moving forward as a united front nearly a month after Brown, 18, was fatally shot several times by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

In the week after the tragic Aug. 9 shooting, social media users wondered if Brown’s death would leave an impact or if it would fade away as just another social media activism trend.

If the stars of hip-hop are any indication, the push for justice will not fade away any time soon.

During his performance at the Made in America Festival in Philadelphia on Sunday, J. Cole took the time to honor the slain teen by playing his song Be Free, which he wrote in honor of Brown.

The song played before J. Cole hit the stage as a video montage was shown on the dual screens on each side of the stage.

The video sent a powerful message as images of Civil Rights leaders marching and being attacked in the 1960s played on the screens.

These clips were combined with footage of the protests and unrest in Ferguson as well as clips of the New York police putting Eric Garner, 43, into a chokehold moments before he died July 17.

J. Cole was one of the first major stars to go to Ferguson without announcing his trip to the public.

Images surfaced online of the rapper visiting the memorial where Brown was killed and talking to residents in the community.

J. Cole wasn’t alone in Ferguson, however.

Rapper Nelly also joined protesters as they marched through Ferguson a few days after Brown was killed.

Since then, many hip-hop stars have kept Brown’s memory alive.

Singer Lauryn Hill released a “sketch” of her song Black Rage, which she dedicated to Brown and the people of Ferguson.

A group of hip-hop heavyweights including Diddy, Rick Ross and 2 Chainz also came together to release the song Don’t Shoot.

J. Cole Be Free Performance
J. Cole performs at the Made in America Festival in Philadelphia.
Credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

All sales from the song will go straight to the Michael Brown Memorial Fund on GoFundMe, which has already managed to garner about $300,000 in two weeks.

This isn’t the first time that hip-hop stars have created songs in honor of such a powerful push for justice.

In 2013, rapper T.I. released New National Anthem in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the volunteer neighborhood watchman who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012.

T.I. said that songs like his and J. Cole’s serve as a voice for people who would otherwise be voiceless to the masses.

“We are the voice for those without a voice,” he said. “Our messages reach the ears of people that most common men in America can’t reach, and I think that has to be used to the advantage and the greater good of the masses.”

R&B star John Legend has also been adamant about showing support for Brown and the Ferguson community.

During a concert last week, Legend performed Motown legend Marvin Gaye’s seminal What’s Going On? at the Hollywood Bowl and donned a shirt with the phrase “Don’t Shoot” on it.

“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” has taken over as a sort of national catchphrase for protesters nationwide who want to see justice for Brown.

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