Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) provided audio commentary to Stop Being Famous about the response to the tragic deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of police officers. The “Mathematics” rapper discussed how “it was the best of times, it was the worst times,” but there is now an opportunity for positive social change.
Yasiin Bey had this to say in Part 1 of his statement:
Where are we? We’re at critical time. We’re at watershed moment for humanity. I imagine we’ve been here before and I imagine we’ve probably been here longer than we realize. I think many of us are becoming even more aware of where we are. And the urgency to change this miserable condition on this earth, as Malcolm X said, is occurring to many of us and reaffirming itself.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It’s an opportunity for necessary change. Positive change. And it’s not necessarily convenient or comfortable. As I’m sure is with any period of growth.
I read somewhere that in order for an arrow to fly the bow has to be drawn back. There’s some pressure involved and I think we’re all feeling that pressure. Some of us are more aware of it than others. Some of us are trying to drown it out. But we all feel it one way or another in indelible ways in these times and days.
This is the beginning of the “Desiderata”:
“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant. They too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”
Yasiin Bey had this to say in Part 2 of his statement:
“Yeah man, people are great, people are a**holes. I’ve been reading some of these comments on WorldStar. Maybe that’s a practice I shouldn’t keep up, but much success to you even if you wish me the opposite.”