Run the Jewels on Why Riots Work a Year After Ferguson Protests
This Sunday (Aug. 9) marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri. A few months later, a grand jury decided not to indict the responsible police officer, and soon after, Run the Jewels were taking the stage at a concert in St. Louis, where Killer Mike gave a powerful and grave speech on his disappointment in the outcome.
Now, a year later, the rap duo discusses why they believe riots work in a new video for the BBC, which can be seen above. Introducing themselves as “your fantasy utopian representation of race relations in the world,” El-P goes on to recount their concert in St. Louis following the Ferguson protests.
“We had the weird, tragic and serendipitous experience of being the only band, when the verdict was coming down in St. Louis, to be attempting to get into St. Louis,” El-P says. “Everyone else was driving as fast as they could out of St. Louis.”
“And every word you’re saying means about 100 times more than it meant the night before,” he continues, “and to see my friend talk on stage -- I was crying on stage. It was very powerful.”
Killer Mike then discusses the changes Ferguson has seen since the aftermath of Brown’s death as evidence of the riots' effectiveness.
“Ferguson was over 60 percent as a black community, they had less than 60 percent representation in politics,” he says. “Post-riots, they have two new black city council members, they have actual advocates in the community now, they had the police chief retire. So if it was argued, ‘Did riots work for Ferguson?’ Absolutely they did.”