Rappers Mos Def, Talib
Kweli and dead prez spoke in support of former Black Panther Assata Shukur at
a press conference yesterday (May 25) at New York’s City Hall.
Charles Barron, councilman from Brooklyn's East New York called
the meeting as a response to a million dollar bounty on the political fugitive,
who now resides in Cuba.
Barron also introduced a resolution that seeks presidential
clemency for Shakur, claiming that she the victim of “trumped-up charges
and a kangaroo court with an all-white jury.”
Both Mos and Kweli stated that they feel Shakur was unjustly
convicted for the murder of a police officer in 1973.
While maintaining her innocence, Shakur escaped prison in 1979,
after claims of experiencing deplorable, inhumane treatment.
"It's time people know the truth about Assata Shakur, that
she's innocent," Mos Def said.
During a recent concert by rapper Common, Mos Def altered the
words to his song “Umi Says” and inserted lyrics like “I want
Assata to be free/ Hands off Assata...remember Malcom....hands off Assata.”
Concurring, Talib Kweli said, "Meeting her made her human...her
autobiography [“Assata: An Autobiography”] changed my life."
The rappers met Shakur when they visited Cuba with Black August,
a yearly show dedicated to political prisoners.
With the million dollar bounty on her head, federal authorities
have deemed Shakur "120 pounds of money” and labeled her a “domestic
terrorist” on the same list as Bin Laden.
Barron, also a former Black Panther, stated that the bounty
isn’t an attempt at justice, but suggestive of vengeance.
"I’m infuriated that a bounty has been put on her,
placing her life in danger. She is a hero to our community," Barron said.
Barron’s resolution has already been blocked by Speaker
Gifford Miller, who said the measure will never even get a hearing or vote,
labeling Shakur a “convicted cop killer who broke out of prison and has
fled the country.”
The Cuban government,
led by Fidel Castro, has continued to grant Shakur asylum despite the bounty.