Stephen A. Smith’s comments on the Black Lives Matter movement rattled many on Twitter, including hip-hop artists and activists Killer Mike and Talib Kweli.
The drama began Tuesday afternoon when the ESPN analyst critiqued activists for booing presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders during Saturday’s Netroots Nation annual forum. Led by Black Lives Matter founder Patrisse Cullors and members of the Black Immigration Network, protesters challenged the politicians to discuss the increasingly high amount of African-American men and women who have died in police custody.
O’Malley made an effort to speak on criminal justice reform, but concluded with “Black lives matter, White lives matter, all lives matter.” The term “all lives matter” was adopted in late 2014, after some critics countered that police brutality and injustice affects all races.
Smith followed suit by supporting Malley’s comments with the following tweets:
His words reached artists Kweli and Killer Mike, both whom are active in the movement. Mike, whose social commentary on the matter has been seen on the Huffington Post, CNN, and through his music with Run The Jewels, invited Smith to have a conversation on the matter.
Kweli had harsher words for Smith:
After facing memes and critique from observers, Smith gave a lengthy response:
“I didn’t hear Gov. Martin O’Malley’s interview, he tweeted. “And I’m not debating the significance of “Black Lives Matter.” I’m a BLACK MAN! I know this.
Nor am I focusing on O’Malley’s words or context itself. That’s really not the issue to me.
The issue is: as much as attention was so desperately aimed towards “Black Lives Matter,” where is all this noise when Black folks are getting killed in our communities every single day? Does it only matter when we’re getting killed OUTSIDE OF OUR COMMUNITY, by folks who look differently than us?
That was my point. It IS my point. It will REMAIN my point. And I’m not changing my position one bit.
Whatever context O’Malley made in saying “All Lives Matter” is his issue to deal with. The same could be said for Hillary Rodham-Clinton when she alluded to that weeks ago. But it still does not negate the point that if we’ve reached a point where a PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE is forced to apologize and engage in clarification when choosing to say “ALL LIVES MATTER” — while a few Black Folks are allowed to reign terror throughout our own community by killing one another with nary a word said about it, then the problems that truly permeate the Black Community will never be resolved.
It’s the truth. Deal with it.
No Black Man with a soul would dream of attacking the movement that is “Black Lives Matter.” I’m certainly not doing any such thing. I never will.
Just make sure I hear #BlackLivesMatter ALL the time.
Specifically, when we’re getting killed by one another.”
The myth of “Black on Black” crime has been the go-to rhetoric for many outside the movement. But FBI homicide data shows that 83 percent of White murder victims were killed by White people. And because White people outnumber Black people in this nation, the idea that Black people are killing other Black people at astronomical rates simply is untrue.
Smith isn’t the only celebrity using the “Black on Black” crime narrative. Rapper A$AP Rocky told reporters in June before improvements on police misconduct can be completed, discourse regarding Black on Black crime should be addressed.