Following T.I.‘s candid open letters to Barack Obama and Donald Trump, the rapper has concluded his series with a message to “us,” which he describes as “the Black community, the hip hop community or whoever is against the oppressive communities that have historically tried to bring us down.”
“Every one of us must do something to contribute to transforming our community for the better,” the rapper wrote in the open letter, which he sent to Ebony. “We have been underserved, underprivileged and unfortunate for far too long. There are no more excuses. It’s not enough to have limited progress and allow our expectations and sense of purpose to evaporate.
In the open letter, T.I. also recommends that the black community shun consumerism and materialistic impulses, not to blame everything on “the system” and “reshape the need for our children to want to live so fast even if it means dying too young.”
“Our obsession with material things and lack of self-worth is evident in our need for an abundance of momentary luxuries and must-have amenities that have no true value for real, man,” he wrote. “So, if that means we must sacrifice some nights at the club and give up buying the latest designer handbags and sneakers…well then damn, so be it.”
T.I. continued, “It is imperative for US to parent our children and educate them outside of the school systems, as our education system was not designed to lift US out of oppression. If we know that the pipelines to prisons are multiplying, well we must ask ourselves what can we do to end it? We must keep ourselves busy with finding ways to generate wealth for generations to come and work to pass down things to our children for them to pass down to their children.”
T.I.’s open letter series comes a month after the rapper released his surprise LP Us or Else: Letter to the System. His latest letter is a rallying cry for those still hurting from November’s election results and today’s inauguration.
“I know what it’s like to feel hopeless and to feel like you’re not good enough just because of where you’re from. I know what it’s like to be profiled and to be abused by the police. I know what it’s like to be racially profiled, treated unjustly and abused by the police just because of how you look,” T.I. wrote. “But even more importantly than knowing all these things, I know what it’s like to overcome ‘em. Now, I know it’s not easy…but all of US can do something.”
In an interview with Ebony that accompanied his latest open letter, T.I. said, “It has to be understood that the world doesn’t exist with people who are exactly like us. Whatever column you fall in — Christian, gay, straight, Black, White — there is no world where people exist that are exactly like you. No one group of people can righteously rule the world. There will be people who differ in opinion, and even in that difference of opinion, we must respect each other. The one thing we all have in common is that we’re human.”