Read T.I.’s Open Letter to Donald Trump

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2016 Many Rivers To Cross Festival
T.I. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

T.I. has released his second in a series of letters about American political life, and this one is addressed to Donald Trump. It’s one of three letters, the first of which was written to Barack Obama and the last of which will be for America itself. In the appeal to the president-elect, the rapper expresses his frustration with the historical and continued disenfranchisement of black people before pleading with Trump for a way to move forward. T.I. kicks off the message with an attempt to disarm Trump’s dismissal of those who don’t support him, saying, “Should it ever at times seem as though WE are against YOU, I assure you it’s a result of YOU defining yourself as the representative for those who are and who always have been against US. The deck has always been stacked against US in this country.” He continues, cataloging a list of the many ways black Americans are made separate from their fellow citizens in hopes of “mend[ing] a gaping wound that has gone unattended for generations.”

T.I. also counters any argument of respectability politics, writing, “When one has been conditioned to have no sense of self and everything has been given to him by his oppressor, from religion to lineage to his name, that leaves a person in imminent darkness leaving them to only be able to offer imminent darkness.” He argues that we thus must “hold accountable those who create, allow and prolong the darkness” to move forward. The rapper ends the letter with some optimism: “I am hopeful that we will not go and repeat the mistakes of the past. I am hopeful that we will all work to right our wrongs and become better men and women and a better nation.” Read the full letter here.

Read T.I.’s Open Letter to Donald Trump