An ambitious young man shot and killed by a cop was the inspiration behind a PSA rapper Meek Mill released bringing attention to police brutality and the need for better relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
The PSA, released Wed. (Dec. 4), through Meek’s record label, Dream Chasers, centers on the story of Antwon Rose Jr., who, at the age of 17, was shot in the back by former East Pittsburgh officer Michael Rosfeld in June 2018 after he ran from a traffic stop.
The officer was later acquitted for the fatal shooting.
“We are in this together. #EveryonesChild,” the message on Dream Chasers Records’ Twitter page said along with the PSA.
The Pittsburgh honor roll student’s mother, Michelle Kenney, is the centering voice of the heartfelt video as she tells the story of her “beautiful son, Antwon,” who was destined to do great things, but his life was cut short when Rosfeld, who was a newly sworn-in police officer at the time, aimed and fired as her son ran away.
Kenney described her son as “intelligent, funny, entertaining, so quick-witted.”
“As he got older he decided he wanted to be a chemical engineer,” Kenney went on to say.
“It’s heartbreaking because he didn’t get a chance to be an adult,” she continued.
Ironically, Kenney had previously worked for a police department in 2010 and said Rose “hung out with police officers, he hung out with their kids.”
“I knew he didn’t have an issue with authority, so I never imagined that there would be an issue,” she said. “I have friends that are police that I know would give me the shirt off their backs. I have family members that are police. I saw all of the good that they do.”
Kenney said she felt that a way to combat the divide between cops and civilians is to have events and activities “that the police could become involved in to get to know the community.”
Since the video was posted just before 1 a.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 4), it has been viewed nearly 575,000 times on Twitter.
TMZ reports that the video is part of the “Responsibility Program” launched by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation.
Meek, who is from Pennsylvania, wanted to get involved with Antwon’s story because they not only share the same home state, but he was also the teen’s favorite rapper.
According to a statement sent to BET, Meek was also moved to release this PSA because he felt that Rose’s story epitomized the message he was conveying in his latest album, CHAMPIONSHIPS, particularly in songs such as “Trauma,” “Championships” and “Oodles O' Noodles Babies.”
In those songs, Meek touches on the issues that plagued his neighborhood in Philadelphia (and many others across the country) and has motivated him to advocate for change in those communities, starting with the criminal justice system.
“My hope is this PSA will inspire people to come together and create change in our communities,” Meek said in the statement sent to BET. “Our country needs more communication and understanding – not hate and division – so it’s important that we collectively start the conversation and work to leave a lasting impact for future generations.”
(Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images for Fast Company)