J. Cole: Ferguson Trip is About Love

Roc Nation rapper shares vibe from Midwest city following Michael Brown shooting.

Posted: 08/19/2014 01:10 PM EDT
J. Cole

J. Cole explained why he was inspired to visit Ferguson, Mo., the city where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot to death by a police officer on Aug. 9.

A few days after the death of the unarmed teen, the Roc Nation rapper released "Be Free," a piano ballad dedicated to every young Black man murdered in America, regardless of the circumstances. But he wanted to do more, so he covered the bill for a dozen friends to accompany him to Ferguson and witness "history."

Complex.com caught up with Cole in the Midwest city on Sunday (Aug. 17) when he was there, and he was admittedly shy about speaking to the outlet. The trip wasn't about publicity for Cole. "I didn't come down here to do no interviews, so this interview is a little uncomfortable," he told the reporter. "No disrespect to you."

In his experience during the day Sunday, the atmosphere in Ferguson had been positive, much different than the clashes that have erupted late some nights. "This is a beautiful thing, people here are saying it: 'Don't let them tell you otherwise.' We've been here five hours walking through the streets, and it ain't no violence, everything is love. Yeah, you got a lot of people that are mad, and rightfully so, of course. Then you got some people  a lot of people — that, yes they're mad but they see the perspective that violence don't bring peace."

Cole said that he's been listening to people's stories more than talking. He noted, "This is love, that's why we out here."  

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(Photo: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

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