Rapper T.I. recently called out Lloyd’s of London for its ties to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In an open letter penned to the U.K. insurance giant, the rapper demanded that reparations be paid to descendants of enslaved Africans.
Lloyd’s of London, which Investopedia calls “a British insurance market where members operate as syndicates to insure and spread out the risks of different businesses, organizations, and individuals,” dates its beginnings to the 17th century. Lloyd’s, which has been unsuccessfully sued previously for slavery reparations, issued an apology this summer for insuring slaving ships during the trans-Atlantic trade.
In the letter posted to the 39-year-old’s Instagram account on Friday, July 17, the rapper, whose real name is Clifford Harris, revealed that he was putting Lloyd’s “on notice.” “It has come to our attention that your company was built on the blood, sweat, and tears of our ancestors,” the rapper began. “We have seen you apologize for your ‘shameful role’ in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, but that simply is not enough.”
He continued, “Your commitment to reparations is an honorable one, but commitment without tangible actions is merely lip service. We demand a specific call to action that includes but is not limited to direct reparations be made to the families who were ripped from their native lands and sold as property while your company profited from the whole shameful endeavor.”
The “Big Ol Drip” rapper also suggested four reparation methods, which included 10 percent ownership of Lloyd’s be given to the descendants of African slaves. T.I. also recommended an accurate annual tracking of reparations and a $1 million cash loan to every African-American adult once in their lifetime for the next 200 years. There was also a request to have at least one African-American member on what the letter called Lloyd’s 15-seat board.
Only about 7 percent of the Africans kidnapped in the trans-Atlantic slave trade were destined for North America. T.I.’s stipulation that African-Americans should receive the compensations he proposes leaves it unclear what, if anything, he feels descendants of slaves throughout the Caribbean and South America are owed.
The actor concluded his letter imploring Lloyd’s present a “comprehensive reparation plan” that would be ready to go in motion by the fall of 2020. “Our people have been financially impaired & economically disabled due to the systemic oppression and institutional racism it leaves behind,” T.I. wrote in a lengthy caption underneath the post featuring the letter. “TIME TO TAKE WHAT WE KNOW OUR ANCESTORS DESERVED & DIED FOR.”
T.I.’s letter comes on the heels of Lloyd’s recognizing its role in the slave trade back in June. The centuries-old institution declared that it would redeem itself by hiring more Black employees and other minorities and provide financial support to philanthropic efforts that promote diversity and inclusion.
Lloyd’s did not officially make a monetary pledge, nor did it refer to its commitments as reparations. However, it did express sincere regret for its troubling past. In a statement to The New York Times, Lloyd’s admitted that “There are some aspects of our history that we are not proud of.” It added, “This was an appalling and shameful period of British history, as well as our own, and we condemn the indefensible wrongdoing that occurred during this period.”
The Times reports that University College London found that Lloyd’s is one of nine British bodies who, in some way, have benefited from slavery, even after the practice was abolished. Firms include HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank, just to name a few.