Brow Beat

Watch Common Bring Out Mike Brown’s Parents at the BET Hip-Hop Awards

On Tuesday, BET celebrated the hottest acts in rap at its annual Hip-Hop Awards. As usual, the night featured a number of lighthearted performances from rappers like T.I., Bobby Shmurda, and more—as well as a great reunion performance of Brandy’s “I Wanna Be Down” remix. But this year’s show also took a moment to remember the death of Mike Brown, and the outcry following his killing by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri back in August.

Common, backed by a full gospel choir, performed an impassioned rendition of his “Kingdom” remix alongside Vince Staples and (in a rare TV appearance) Jay Electronica. At its end, Common, explaining, “we do this for our fallen soldiers,” brought out Mike Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. Together, everyone in the building went silent and raised their hands in the now familiar gesture of protest that means, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

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