Hello. Welcome back to Protest Anthems, the podcast about all things music, social justice, and protest. This week, Maggie Rawlins delves into the song “Don’t Shoot,” released in 2014 by The Game, and various featured artists.  In ”Don’t Shoot,” an amazing and varied compilation of rappers use their platform to demand change from the people, as well as the government. Each artist, from DJ Khaled, all the way to TGT puts in a line or two about the power of different communities together uniting against mistreatment by the government. They speak about Michael Brown, Emmett Till, and the larger issue of police violence, unfortunately making it a perfect song for our era of violence and protest against violence.

Michael Brown, Emmett Till, and Trayvon Martin are only a few of the names of those who have been in headlines after being brutalized or killed at the hands of law enforcement in recent years. Each of these incidents represents a state-wide pattern of police using excessive, and sometimes fatal, force against the people they’re supposed to protect and serve.A number of U.S. cities erupted in protest just a week after a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri handed down a decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in August. Reporters spoke to some of the protesters in Oakland about why they came out to.Demonstrators listen to speakers during a rally over the killing of teenagers Michael Brown and Vonderrit Myers Jr. on the campus of Saint Louis University on Oct. 13, 2014, in St. Louis, Mo.



Ferguson 2014: A Protest Ignited | The New York Times. Protesters angered over the police shooting of Michael Brown squared off with law enforcement in the streets of Ferguson, Mo. again, looting some stores.



Today is all about a song that touches on police brutality, racism, and gun violence that ultimately ends in murder. The song “Don’t Shoot” is by Jayceon Terrell Taylor, better known by his stage name “The Game”.  Disproportionately, the victims are people of color with the violence occurring during routine interactions with police.  Given their authority to use force in certain circumstances, police officers must be held accountable when they abuse or misuse their extraordinary powers. It is crucial that those entrusted with such authority be committed to using it sparingly, equitably, legally, and in a racially unbiased way and that police departments have the proper policies in place to ensure its officers use force appropriately.


It doesn’t surprise me DJ Khaled is also involved in such an impactful song like this he is a african american man from New Orleans, Louisiana.  His verse directly shouts out the main topic of discussion with this song, of course the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson. He also mentions having to shout, yell, and scream for justice in order to be heard by the higher ups in society. He identifies himself and other artists, and just people supporting this movement as young soldiers almost in a fight against our own people, government, the police officers who are supposed to protect us.


Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy, is a commanding voice within the group as they give each other support. His son was also shot and killed two-and a-half years ago by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla. These fathers, whose strength lies in their support for each other, are trying to find ways to lead the national discussion around the senseless loss of so many young black men. They stress the value of empowerment.

Trayvon and father Tracy.


Many of the young people on the streets of Ferguson share this experience. I met protesters who are young like me: juggling work and school —  just trying to grow up, learning to be men. But they are often derailed, distracted, or taken off-course. They don’t feel like they are treated with respect.

In Missouri, as in the Bay Area, it’s a hard situation to fix. Many of the cops in Ferguson don’t live in the communities they serve. The tension seems to have been rising between the community and the police for as long as people can remember. With Michael Brown’s death, young black men in St. Louis are given a spotlight they didn’t have before. They want people to know they aren’t backing down. They aren’t giving up.

As 27-year-old Darren Seals of Ferguson puts it, seeing the fate of Michael Brown “didn’t make us scared. It made us furious.”


Bay Area young people are furious too — about Michael Brown and all of the lives lost before his to police shootings. Where that fury will lead is the story yet to be told. The “circle of fathers” and mothers, hopes some powerful new, young leaders will be formed by these experiences. From the activity on the streets around the country and online. I believe that’s already happening.

At Michael  Brown’s funeral in St. Louis, it was hard to miss all the young men standing alongside older civil rights leaders. There were also school kids in the city to witness history even if they didn’t understand its full meaning yet. After my experience this semester listening to this song, “Don’t Shoot” and learning about the story of Michael Brown and so many others, my hope is that the status quo is over and that young people will be the ones providing the road map for how justice can be served.