J. Cole Pays Tribute To Michael Brown With Emotional New Song, "Be Free"

Rapper releases new song as singer Frank Ocean weighs in on Ferguson crisis with comment.

1. On Friday, August 15, police identified Darren Wilson as the police officer who fatally shot teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

2. Also on Friday, rapper J. Cole released a song called “Be Free,” which excerpts quotes from Dorian Johnson, an eyewitness to Brown’s killing.

3. Cole attached this note to the song:


Rest in Peace to Michael Brown and to every young black man murdered in America, whether by the hands of white or black. I pray that one day the world will be filled with peace and rid of injustice. Only then will we all Be Free - Cole

4. On August 14, singer Frank Ocean weighed in on the crisis in Ferguson, Mo. on Tumblr, posting this image of Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson speaking at a press conference as Mo. Governor Jay Nixon watches.

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

At the conference on Thursday, Nixon charged Johnson’s Highway Patrol with overseeing security in Ferguson, following days of chaos after Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer.

5. Alongside the image, Ocean wrote:


You see that black woman standing up there? I wonder if she was called to stand behind the governor because she’s black. I wonder if i’m supposed to think Missouri’s gov’t is pro-black because of her being stood up there with those other black men being all black and everything. I wonder if she was off the clock while she stood up there. If she was off the clock..then i wonder if she was getting paid for her time off like the guy who shot Michael 8 times. What’s that guy’s name by the way?

6. Ocean and Cole’s statements follow gestures made by rapper Killer Mike, band leader Questlove and many others in the hip-hop community in the days since Brown was killed.

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