It's been nearly two weeks since George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering black teenager Trayvon Martin, but the verdict continues to draw heated reaction from across the country.
One of the latest responses came from Shawn Carter -- a rapper better known by his stage name of Jay-Z -- who declared that everyone knows the verdict “was wrong,” and it left him “really angry” because the racism in America is “so blatant.”
During a video interview with Rap Radar's Elliott Wilson, the 43-year-old black artist said that after the jury found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter, he became so angry that he “didn't sleep for two days."
If you just ask the question, ask yourself the question, “Didn’t Trayvon have the right to stand his ground?” He was being chased, he was being chased and fought back.
“I mean, if you chase me, if you try to attack me and I defend myself, how can I be in the wrong?” he asked. “How is that right? This guy went to get some Skittles and go back and watch the All-Star game.”
Carter apparently does not understand that in a public place, unless subject to a restraining order, it is not a crime to follow anyone, for any reason, provided no violence is involved. He also seemed to have ignored the testimony in court of Martin's friend Rachel Jeantel that the deceased Miami teenager might have thought that Zimmerman was a gay rapist trying to attack him.
Referring to the fact that several break-ins and robberies had recently occurred in the area, the performer asserted that Martin “had no intention of robbing anyone's home."
Jay-Z then turned his attention to Zimmerman and criticized the 29-year-old Hispanic harshly:
This guy’s not a professional. You’re not a professional to profile someone. … A professional law enforcement officer is taught not to profile. This guy’s a novice. This guy’s a f–king mall cop.
"You still see that the old guard, that whole thing I'm fighting against," Carter added. "That old guard and their old ideas and their stubborn ways and all their ego and all their bulls**t -- it's just still there. It still exists, and you just hate to believe that."
Nevertheless, Carter praised the progress that he said had been made in race relations. “It’s beautiful because this generation right now, this generation, they don’t see color” as he did while growing up.
He then went on to applaud President Obama's remarks on race and the impact of the trial on African-Americans.
Jay-Z called the president's comments “amazing, amazing, amazing because it’s hard in politics to really just make a statement as a human.”
I felt he was very admirable because he made a statement as a father and as a black man and as someone who had compassion for the things that we go through because he’s been through it before.
As a result, the performer said he now has “another layer of respect” for the Democratic occupant of the White House.
Jay-Z noted that he and musician Justin Timberlake dedicated a song to Trayvon Martin during a Friday night concert at Yankee Stadium in New York City. While singing “Forever Young,” Carter yelled to the crowd: “Everybody put a cell phone and light it up. Let's light the sky for Trayvon Martin tonight in here.”
One day later, Jay-Z and his wife, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, joined MSNBC host Al Sharpton and Trayvon Martin's mother during a protest in Harlem that was intended to kick off a day of national protests regarding the Zimmerman verdict.
In another move to help Trayvon Martin's memory live on, the performer soon joined singer Stevie Wonder's boycott of Florida, along with Kanye West, Madonna and the Rolling Stones, in a bid to punish the state that set George Zimmerman free.
As NewsBusters previously reported, Martin and his wife are no strangers to controversy. In mid-April, they celebrated their fifth anniversary with a vacation to Cuba, which drew several complaints that they were supporting an “oppressive communist regime” while many people in that island nation are kept in jail for daring to speak out against the government's harsh policies.
Also during the interview, Jay-Z criticized Florida's Stand Your Ground laws. While hoping that this incident will lead to a change in such legislation, the performer said he hates that “a child had to be sacrificed for that.”
If Jay-Z admires President Obama as much as he says he does, the rapper should agree with him that "the jury has spoken." If something upsets you so much that you can't sleep for two days, it might be time for another vacation in another country.