Talib Kweli in 2014
Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Samsung

Talib Kweli is among a few in the hip-hop community who have publicly spoken out against the violent death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The rapper even went toe-to toe with CNN’s Don Lemon during a televised interview when he felt the anchor was being disrespectful not only to him but also to the work he was doing in Ferguson.

In addition to protesting with the people, Kweli helped launch the Ferguson Defense Fund, a crowdfunding campaign with the goal of supporting the activists in Ferguson. According to Rolling Stone, the fund far surpassed its goal of $25,000 by raising a total of $112,052. The Action Support Committee—made up of artists, organizers and activists and created to disperse the funds through grants to community programs—said it plans on allocating the donated funds to various programs in Ferguson.


“These are young men and women who have put their lives on hold to stand up for all of our freedoms,” Kweli said in a statement. “The overly militarized police force in Ferguson has attempted to criminalize them by harassing and throwing them in jail for exercising their right to peaceful protest. We hope these funds help to empower.”

The first allocation of funds will go to programs including the Jail & Bail Fund ($35,000), Artists as Tutors ($2,000), the Revolutionary Reading Program ($2,000), the Tech Impact Initiative ($2,000), the Latino youth leadership program Juventud Raza Unida ($2,000), the Transitional Housing Program ($2,000) and the Bereavement Fund ($3,800). The remaining funds will go toward the committee’s Revolution School as well as future grants created by the organization.

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