Kirshnik “Takeoff” Ball died from gunshot wounds on November 1 at the age of 28. Since his passing, there have been public conversations about the supposed connection between Hip Hop and violence.
Civil Rights activist/TV personality Al Sharpton weighed in on the topic of Hip Hop culture while speaking with TMZ. The National Action Network founder addressed some of the reactions to Takeoff’s death.
“First of all, no one has been more on gun violence and saying we need to deal with things in Hip Hop, but I remember growing up, R&B artists used to get in shootouts and fights,” said Al Sharpton. This is nothing new. Social media makes it where more people know about it.”
The 68-year-old Baptist minister added, “You have a lot of people in Hip Hop that are very responsible, that are very creative, that help their community. So we should not act like Hip Hop is synonymous with violence.”
Several Rappers Lost Their Lives In Recent Months
There have been numerous killings involving Hip Hop artists over the last twelve months. Young Dolph, Drakeo the Ruler, Snootie Wild, Trouble, JayDaYoungan, and PnB Rock all lost their lives to violence during that time period.
However, most of those cases did not involve violence stemming directly from their association with Hip Hop culture. For example, PnB Rock died during a robbery in Los Angeles. Takeoff was reportedly killed outside a bowling alley after a dispute between other people.
“Those that are violent, we ought to deal with. But a thug is a thug whether they’re singing Jazz, whether they’re R&B, whether they’re singing Gospel. I know some preachers packing. So let’s not make it just about Hip Hop. Let’s make it about people that are not acting like they ought to act,” concluded Sharpton.
Law Enforcement Officials Also Disconnected Takeoff’s Death From Hip Hop Culture
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner also pushed back on the “Hip Hop is violent” narrative. Finner, along with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, spoke about the investigation into Takeoff’s death at a news briefing earlier this month.
“Sometimes the Hip Hop community gets a bad name. And I know, and evident from this city and people who I have a personal relationship, [there are] a lot of great people in our Hip Hop community. And I respect them,” stated Chief Finner.
He also offered, “I’m calling upon everybody, all Hip Hop artists in Houston and around the nation, we got to police ourselves. It is so many talented individuals, men and women, in that community, who again I love and I respect, and we all need to stand together and make sure nobody tears down that industry.”
Atlanta’s State Farm Arena will host the funeral services for Takeoff on Friday, November 11. Numerous celebrities offered condolences to the Migos rapper on social media. Takeoff’s only solo album, 2018’s The Last Rocket, launched back onto the Billboard 200 following his death.