“The overall message this whole Trayvon case has taught me: You ain’t shit,” Questlove wrote.
Zimmerman was found not guilty Saturday of murder and manslaughter charges in the 2012 killing of 17-year old Martin. Musicians, including Questlove, vented their disapproval online immediately after the verdict was announced.
On Facebook, the Roots drummer and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon band leader recounted incidents where he felt uncomfortable, or worse, due to race, alluding to once having been detained by the authorities in Buffalo who thought he was “a drug lord,” and an elevator encounter with a woman in the building where he lives who made clear, he felt, that she didn’t want him to know what floor she lived on.
“I‘m in scenarios in which primitive exotic looking me (6’2, 300 lbs, uncivilized afro for starters) finds himself in places that people that look like me aren’t normally found.”
Questlove said he half-laughed at the elevator incident, but also cried internally. He’s learned to find humor in these situations as a form of self-preservation, he wrote. “If I cried at every insensitive act that goes on in the name of safety, I’d have to be committed to a psych ward. I’ve just taught myself throughout the years to just accept it and maybe even see it as funny.”
Still, he wrote, that mindset has taken its toll over the years. He concluded his Facebook post in earnest, writing, “I guess I’m struggling to get at least one percent of this feeling back, from all this protective numbness I’ve built around me, to keep me from feeling. Because, at the end of the day, I’m still human.”