Reactions to Meek Mill’s Commanding BET Awards Performance About Police Violence

06.25.18
Meek Mill performing "Stay Woke" at the 2018 BET Awards on June 24, 2018. (screenshot)
06.25.18

Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill stunned the audience at last night’s BET Awards with a powerful performance that denounced mass incarceration and police violence in black communities.

Mill was joined by singer Miguel to perform his new song, “Stay Woke.” The backdrop of the performance included actors portraying members of a black community: kids playing on the streets while adults converse with one another. The story takes a turn when a group of police officers come in and disrupt the regular activity of the community by arresting the black men.

The tension rises and culminates when a young black girl is shot and killed by the police. Her mother runs into the frame and her screams are all that can be heard.

As Mill raps, “How can I pledge allegiance to the flag when they killing all our sons, all our dads? / I come from a place where you kill your own brother, you can brag,” an officer places an American flag over the child’s body.

The chilling performance also included black men in orange prison jumpsuits holding up prison bars.

“Stay Woke” is Mill’s first new song since his release from prison for violating his probation in April. He performed the new song while commemorating both XXXTentacion and Jimmy Wopo — two rappers who were murdered in shootings this month — on his hoodie.

The performance was lauded by many on Twitter.

However, there was some controversy over his choice to wear a sweatshirt with XXXTentacion on the front because of the late rapper’s violent and abusive behavior.

This performance wasn’t Mill’s first time using his platform to discuss gun violence. In May, he encouraged President Trump to visit his neighborhood to see the actual influence of violence on young people growing up in these communities.

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