#ICanBeNext, the hashtag I thought about starting as I reflect on the fact that hip-hop artist David Banner had enough names of black victims of police brutality and killings to tweet them rapidly for ten hours straight. I studied Minister Louis Farrakhan’s latest speech on Ferguson, black on black crime, and America’s conspiracy to destroy black youth. “I need your help” said Farrakhan. History is repeating itself while our powerless president lacks authority to save us. It’s much deeper than the color of our skin, when will we have the freedom to feel safe in America?

Urban America, it’s time for a change. The change starts with us and our influence in our communities. We can’t be scared to participate in projects that empower us. This fear has been engraved over time with the arrest of Rosa Parks, death of Tupac, and assassinations of civil rights activists Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X to only name a few examples. It’s time to break these chains. We can start by focusing on the youth, the next generation of leaders. I’m not asking for you to change the world, but a positive change in your community is a start. Yes, social media is powerful but we can’t sit behind technology and create hashtags all day, and we can’t let this end with one! It’s time. Are you ready for the revolution? What are you willing to sacrifice and accomplish in hunt for the life you dreamed of; the search for social justice.

In my last article “Waking Up The Hip-Hop Generation” I spoke about hip-hop needing more artists that act as revolutionaries through music. Mainstream artists with big voices not speaking on important issues while they profit off records that continue to poison our communities, the same artists that claim they are “moving the culture forward.” With that being said, I’m scared.
I’m scared for my loved ones, the youth, and the future of Urban America as a whole. Although I am scared I have not lost hope, and am on the mission to create change.

As the National Guard entered Ferguson Monday, August 18th I thought about the past experiences of white on black riots in America. Popularized race riots included the Newark Riots in 1964, Watts Riots in 1965, the riots following the assassination of MLK in 1968, to more recent including the Rodney King [LA] riots in 1992. All in which worsened the current situation adding more police brutality, arrests of innocent individuals, and in overall more injustice. The current riots going on in Ferguson are what we will be educating our children on. When they ask what happened how will we explain the situation to them? What will the schools teach them?

I’ve been serving food for thought but…
– This is when all of the activists, mentors, educators, and students come together.
– This is when we start supporting local businesses. This is when we build community.
– Organize open mic nights for our cities people to discuss ideas.
– This is when we bring awareness to the truth, without sugar coating it.
– This is when we stop supporting and promoting what’s killing us.

This is the perfect time for another Kanye rant as he is no where to be found.
Sway didn’t have the answers but we can create them. Again, this is up to us.
We can’t go back to “normal” after this. I promise things will only get worse.

Kyle Gise is a music business student, writer, and activist using hip-hop for positive change.
He can be reached via Twitter, friended on Facebook, or emailed at [email protected]