Reverend Al Sharpton has defended hip hop after the musical genre was criticized for encouraging violence in the wake of Migos rapper Takeoff's death.
The 68-year old reverend spoke to TMZ recently about his belief that hip hop is not the reason that violence occurs in the African American community in the USA.
“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,” Sharpton told TMZ during a short interview in New York City.
“This is nothing new,' he added. 'social media makes it where more people know about it.”
“You have a lot of people in Hip-Hop that are very responsible, that are very creative, that help their community,:' Sharpton explained, 'So we should not act like Hip-Hop is synonymous with violence.”
The religious and civil rights leader said that he thinks violence occurs not just exclusively in hip hop, but also in the outside world.
“Those that are violent, we ought to deal with,' Sharpton said.
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,' he explained.
'So let’s not make it just about Hip-Hop,' he stated, 'Let’s make it about people that are not acting like they ought to act.”
Al Sharpton Says Gun Violence, Not Hip Hop, Killed Takeoff | TMZ
The interview comes after the recent murder of well-known and highly successful rapper Takeoff of the Migos musical group.
The artist was shot at a bowling alley in the Houston area at what was supposed to be a celebratory event and died form head wounds.
Sharpton also spoke on the matter to TMZ, offering his prayers to the family of the deceased.
'I hope we get a lesson from this,' Reverend Sharpton said, 'We've got to stop this.'
Sharpton was also quick to say that the issue of guns and violence's was a community problem, not just an issue with the hip hop world.
'Don't stigmatize a whole genre of music but let's deal with our community, it needs to do better,' he told the network.
Sharpton's views were echoed in another TMZ interview with Wu-Tang clan rapper Method Man.
'Why do ya'll always blame hip hop,' he told a reporter on the street.
'The circumstances are always pointing to hip hop and its not always our fault, period,' he added.