As the countdown to the end of President Obama’s final term draws near, rapper T.I. has written an open letter promising to continue his legacy. After growing more political in the wake of ongoing police brutality shootings in 2016, T.I.’s vow to the 44th president of the United States falls in line with his stance.
In the first of several letters addressing the state of American leadership written for the New York Times — messages to President-elect Donald Trump and the country’s citizens also are on the way —T.I. explained his feelings about Obama’s exit. He also mentioned the Commander in Chief’s impact on the Black community.
“As I reflect, I am filled with gratitude, outrage, grief, anger, humility and appreciation, both for the things you helped bring to light and the many things we still have yet to realize,” the rapper, born Clifford Harris, wrote. “For years, you fought to keep this nation from the very thing we have now become. For years, many of US failed you because, as I’ve said before, we were not all ready for the change you wanted to bring about.
“But rest assured that we heard you,” he continued. “Rest assured that we felt you and rest assured that your legacy will live on long after your presidency.”
Elsewhere in the piece, T.I. thanked Obama for “helping US face and focus on the very issues that plague our communities and diminishes US all.” He also acknowledged his trouble with the law that he said “further perpetuates the negative stigma in our communities.” That included a 2016 arrest for controlled substances after an officer smelled marijuana wafting from his car.
As the president prepares to move out of the White House, the rapper reflected on the Black community’s state in the face of a Trump presidency.
“For every one of US who has been touched by you and tasked with a choice between finding a way or walking away, I say we can and must do more,” T.I. said. “We cannot afford to live in a prolonged state of grief but must remember that we have no choice but to dust ourselves off, wipe off our wounds and move beyond this barren state of shock.”
After thanking President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, for the sacrifices they have made for the country, T.I. made a commitment on behalf of Black Americans.
“WE will continue to stand with you and alongside those who make a personal investment in US,” he said. “We will continue to remain committed to causes that are bigger than ourselves. We will continue to remind ourselves that, Yes, we still can!”