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‘We Have to See Our Lives as Valuable’: Actor LaKeith Stanfield Sparks a Debate After Suggesting Gangsta Rap is Killing Black People

The tragic death of Migos member Takeoff has celebrities questioning the influence and impact of rap music. The 28-year-old artist was shot and killed in Houston, Texas, early Tuesday morning, Nov. 1. Hours later, actor LaKeith Stanfield called out supporters of one particular genre of music in a lengthy post on Instagram.

“If you are for gangsta rap you can’t also be for Black,” he wrote, before elaborating in the caption.

LaKeith Stanfield calls gangsta rap music “self-destructive” following Takeoff’s death. (Photo: @lakeithstanfield/Instagram.)

“The dangerous toxicity associated with this glorified black serial killer and killed music and imagery got people thinking it’s cool to hurt those that look like them and ONLY them. It’s ok to embrace the realities of life in the harder areas but let’s think about NOT holding up this behavior in our circles,” he wrote. “Let’s make it cool to embrace life, travel, and learn new things! I know that the scope of issues we have to contend with is much larger than just this and that we have a lot of work to do in many areas to restore our hearts and minds after centuries of persecution and manipulation, but we have to start somewhere.”

He continued, “At some level, we have to see our lives as valuable so that we think before we react and see another human when we look at a Human man. We must stop holding self-destructive s–t up and embrace things that build us a whole so that we can lead the world in the direction of prosperity by example. Getting reckless now and again is part of who we are but for the most part…Turn that stupid s–t off.”

Stanfield’s post suggested that violent rap music and lyrics are the cause of what’s killing Black people. Some fans understood his unorthodox remarks, but others felt he was reading too deeply into the reason behind Takeoff’s death.

“Lakeith Stanfield can’t be serious with his latest Instagram post……again, the takes y’all are getting from Takeoff’s death are not IT. Just send your condolences and keep it movin’,” said one person.

Another said, “Love Lakeith Stanfield one of my fave actors but such a tone deaf and irrelevant thing to say in this moment.”

Many called the “Atlanta” star a “hypocrite” for discussing the impact of gun violence one minute and later glorifying it. A handful brought up his guest appearance in SZA‘s recently released video for her long-awaited single “Shirt.” In the ultra violent clip, SZA and Stanfield play a gun-totting couple on killing spree.

“I’m not saying what Lakeith Stanfield is saying wrong but you was just in a music video where your co-star shot someone in the head right in front of you and you smiled,” said one person. “Aren’t you to glorifying gun violence sir?”

Another individual reminded fans that Stanfield’s post calls out a specific sub-genre of hip-hop music and not its entirety.

That person wrote, “Just so we are clear, Lakeith Stanfield is NOT demonizing hip-hop, but gangsta rap/drill music! We can all agree that television or media can play a part in programming young minds, so what makes that type of music exclusive?

Hip-hop also birthed the popular drill music scene that originated in Chicago in the late 2000s. New York City Mayor Eric Adams has adamantly spoken against the sub-genre’s violent subjects and exploitation of gangs, drugs and violence. As previously reported, the 61-year-old politician believes drill music should be banned. But his views differ from his son, Jordan Coleman, who goes by the rap name Jayoo.

Coleman disagrees, but he acknowledged the fact that are people “who are committing crimes and then going and bragging about it on songs.” The 26-year-old suggested before taking the action of banning that his dad have “more conversations” with other hip-hop artists to get a better understanding of the music.

“Before any action is made, I think people need to have more conversations. There needs to be a few different discussions before you ban anything, and before you allow anything to keep moving forward in any direction,” he told Complex. “So my advice for him is to create another town hall meeting, pick some of the same people, but also switch it up and get some new people in there.”

He said, “Let’s get some different perspectives and let’s understand what drill rappers are looking like in our country as a whole, and not just New York City, so we can understand the overall culture and see where we can move forward instead of just marginalizing this to New York City. There’s drill rap everywhere, and the people are shooting and killing each other everywhere. So let’s not just have New York City be the prime target of this situation.”

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