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UPDATE: After many fans called out Nelly for not visiting Ferguson, an area near his St. Louis hometown, the rapper finally took a visit to speak with protesters. Check out a video clip from his time there.
Nelly did speak to protesters after marching with them, but urged them to not destroy “our neighborhoods and starting choosing better options.” “We gotta understand that we got options and stop choosing the reaction option,” he said to the crowd. “That’s it. At the end of the day we’re gonna pay. Our brothas are the ones that’s gonna be in jail.”
Nelly believes rioters in Ferguson, Missouri, should have waited a little longer before taking the streets in anger over Michael Brown’s shooting.
People have been storming the streets ever since the unarmed teen was gunned down by a police officer while walking with a friend on August 9. In the week that has passed since his shooting death, Ferguson has begun to resemble a war zone. NBC News reports that police have even fired tear gas as looters ransack local businesses in hurt and extreme aggravation.
The St. Louis native sees the behavior as a poorly thought out reaction to Michael’s death because he doesn’t see how it will effect positive change. “I understand the frustration, but we have to strategize before we overreact,” he told TMZ.com. “We don’t get no do-over on sh*t like this, so we have to do it right the first time.”
In Nelly’s opinion, Michael’s death, although tragic, is not out of the ordinary for how police have treated black people in Missouri for year. The “Hot In Herre” expressed that he thinks the aftermath of this heartbreaking incident was a huge opportunity for the black community to come up with an effective plan to demand more civil treatment from authorities.
“Ain’t nothing happen no different that hasn’t been happening,” said Nelly. “At the end of the day, we should have waited to strategize first and take all the right steps to organize.”
Atlanta rapper T.I. echoed his opinion that people in Ferguson reacted too quickly in a time where they should have waited to see how the police would handle Michael’s killing.”We needed to play chess instead of checkers,” said T.I. “We should have waited to see if justice was going to be served first … We shouldn’t have played our strongest hand first.”