Chicago rapper King Von was shot and killed in a gun fight on Nov. 6. Five days later, Dallas rapper MO3 was also shot to death while driving on the interstate. King Von and MO3’s deaths shocked the black community and served as yet another example of black men being unjustly killed for no reason.
Over the past two years, seven rappers, including King Von and MO3, have been shot and killed. Pop Smoke, a New York rapper, was robbed and killed in his LA home on Feb. 19. Nipsey Hussle, a LA rapper, was shot to death in front of his Marathon Clothing store.
Many people have claimed these deaths were entirely the victims’ fault. King Von didn’t stand down from an argument once an off-duty officer got involved. Pop Smoke posted a video showing off his new house and forgot to blur the address. Artists like MO3 and Nipsey Hussle grew up in “dangerous” neighborhoods or rapped about violence, so they must have been “asking for it”.
Society loves to scapegoat black men for their own murders. But, of course, these rappers did not die because they wanted to. Yes, Pop Smoke made a mistake in posting his address online. However, this mistake shouldn’t have cost him his life.
Gun violence has threatened Black communities for decades. Jealousy, greed and poverty has turned some African-Americans into soldiers, fighting to survive in a system set up against them. There are many reasons why the rate of gun violence is so high in low-income communities, and why so many of these communities develop PTSD as a result.
These rappers got famous because they talked about issues they grew up around. They were children who grew up in incredibly harsh conditions, facing poor educational opportunities and horrific rates of violence. Music served as their escape, as places for them to vent frustrations or aspire to be greater. They needed to find ways to support themselves because no one else was going to do it for them. So, they worked hard and were able to find that way out. They wanted better opportunities and were instead killed for trying.
The black community must constantly endure things like police brutality, lynching, kidnappings, discrimination and gun violence. Many have done their best to aid people in poverty, including some of the rappers who were killed. Nipsey Hussle set up a Marathon Clothing store in a plaza where he grew up, wanting to help the community that raised him by giving back. But no matter how many programs are given or protests are held, gun violence still prevails.
The United States government should take responsibility in decreasing the rate of gun violence. Having annual events where people turn in guns to cops is not enough, especially when the police are involved with a lot of those same shootings. Low-income communities need better housing, better public schools, less police patrols and more opportunities for financial growth. The black community is trying to fix things, but the government is supposed to protect us so we can make that happen.