T.I. has remained outspoken about injustices towards black youth, especially in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s murder and the uprising in Ferguson. During Saturday’s 2015 Triumph Awards, his spoken word performance of “United We Stand” will take aim at Twitter activism.
“United we stand/Because we created a hashtag for Sandra Bland,” he begins while surrounded by members of the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta, an African-American theatre company for young adults in the South. “Jumped off the front of the ship and dove into the Internet waves/Swimming with DMs, likes, comments/Not noticing how much it makes us slaves/Chained by man-made device small enough to fit into the palm of our hand/I guess that’s made it easy to swipe to the left and scroll to the next/And forget about Sandra Bland.”
The second verse of T.I.’s spoken word took aim at people sporting “Black Lives Matter” on clothes without actively trying to find ways to work towards change. “If you think solely making them a trending topic is going to solve them/Then you are a part of the problem,” the rapper adds before naming Jordan Davis, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Eric Harris, Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland.
Though T.I. has used social media as an outlet for his frustration with police brutality in America, the death of Bland and the social media response to it encouraged him to write the poem. “I was surprised that within a couple of months after her death and the other deaths, the social media activity had all but stopped,” he said in a statement. “Even I had to question myself as to what part am I really playing.”
T.I.’s spoken word performance will air during the Triumph Awards ceremony on Saturday, October 3rd on TV One.