Live from Africa, the artist/activist formerly known as Mos Def delivers a statement he calls, "Thoughts on the Upheaval From a Global Perspective" via voice recording.
The interlude was uploaded online earlier this month and addresses the current state of the union, particularly the killing of unarmed Black men Michael Brown, 18, of Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner, a father of six from Yasiin Bey's home state, New York, reports Billboard.
"Where are we? We’re at a critical time. We’re at a watershed moment for humanity," Bey says from his current residence in South Africa. "The urgency to 'change this miserable condition on this earth,' as Malcolm X said, is occurring to many of us, reaffirming itself. 'It was the best of the time, it was the worst of times,' he adds, referencing Charles Dickens's Tale of Two Cities.
"It's the opportunity for necessary change, positive change, and it's not necessarily convenient or comfortable as I'm sure it 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."
Bey then goes on to recite the beginning of Max Erhmann's 1927 poem, "Desiderata," and later, from Paris, uploaded a Part II version, which he says are answers to questions he'd since received and notes on his original statement. "We have a duty to defend our quality of life, our very lives. Do we believe in a system — an oppressive murder system — more than our ability to change it?" he asks.
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(Photo: Splash News)