In the last 48 hours, two different black men in two different American cities have been shot to death by police officers, with both killings captured on horrifying, heart-wrenching video. Their names were Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
Institutional racism in this country is nothing new, of course. The presence of easily accessible hand-held recording devices and the reach of social media, in the grand scheme of things, are. It's only the shock waves that feel bigger. I'm trying to keep that close to the surface. No black person in America is actually surprised right now.
It makes sense, then, that a combination of deeply justified fury and resignation permeates "6 Shots," a new track that Bay Area hip-hop legend (and unofficial mayor of North Oakland) Mistah F.A.B. dropped this morning.
Its lyrics are unambiguous -- referencing Alton Sterling being killed while selling CDs in front of a corner store, his son crying on TV, Jesse Williams' recent speech at the BET Awards, as well as Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland and Oscar Grant -- with an especially raw plea to black people working in law enforcement.