On September 21, 2011, at 11:08 p.m. in Jackson, Georgia, a death row inmate named Troy Davis, convicted 20 years ago for the murder of off-duty Savannah policeman Mark MacPhail, was executed by lethal injection.
For decades, though, Davis, his supporters, and many justice advocates had proclaimed the prisoner's innocence. And in the final weeks leading up to his scheduled execution, celebrities and rap stars helped lead a last-minute push to save Davis's life, even pleading with President Obama to personally intervene. However, the Supreme Court denied any stay of execution. Obama did not act. And Davis's time ran out.
But last night, halfway through the Black Star show at the Fillmore Miami Beach, Mos Def paused between songs to challenge the BET Hip-Hop Awards, Oprah, and Obama to pay tribute to the recently executed death row inmate.
"The BET Awards are happenin' in Atlanta, Georgia, apparently this weekend on Saturday, right?," Def said. "I'm making a strong, serious recommendation and suggestion.
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"In the interest of humanity and the rights of human beings all over God's spaceship, Earth," he continued while Talib Kweli stood with his arms crossed, nodding his approval, "if you are doing or hosting this event in Atlanta, Georgia, right after this young man, Troy Davis, was brutally murdered, in public for the whole world to see, you should definitely dedicate one part of your show.
"If it's the opening, the beginning, the middle, or the end ... Bring his mama out there, show her your support and show her some words of comfort and encouragement.
"This is not the moment for your silence, BET! Or anybody else! And that goes to every peep from Oprah to Obama: When you get a free moment, call Troy Davis mama!"