ATLANTA — As Black Lives Matter activists rallied at the Mall of America Wednesday to protest the killing of Jamar Clark by police in North Minneapolis last month, CNN’s Don Lemon talked to Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy, who is an outspoken supporter of the movement.
“I think that if it only took 20 people to get the attention of CNN and the rest of the world, they’re on to a great start,” Jeezy said.
The Atlanta rapper also gave CNN a first look at his video for the hit “Sweet Life,” featuring Janelle Monáe, which appears on his newest studio release “Church in These Streets” and addresses criminal justice reform.
Mall of America officials tried to block the protests, contending the marchers were unlawfully on private property. The protesters then moved from the mall to the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport.
“I definitely think the mall should have handled it a lot differently,” said Jeezy. The rapper added that he has lost several friends to gun violence over the years, and his music has long wrestled with the themes of what he calls police brutality and civil rights violations.
Jeezy’s song “Streetz” from his “Politically Correct” mixtape takes place in a cemetery, as names of friends killed on the streets flash across the screen.
The streets are “pretty much a war zone” right now,” Jeezy said, and tough times and poverty make people “resort to what they know” — whether it’s selling drugs to get by, stealing or even turning to violence.
“That’s where we draw the line … We love our kids and we’ll protect our kids,” said Jeezy, who earlier this week donated toys to over 600 children in his hometown of Macon, Georgia, through his Street Dreamz foundation.
Jeezy, who has expressed support for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, slammed Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.The mogul “should have been out of the race a long time ago because of his actions.”
Trump is running for president “for his business, for his brand,” Jeezy said, adding, “When I look at Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, I see people that actually care about the people.”