Rapper J. Cole visits San Quentin prison in California during Black August

Rapper J. Cole visited prisoners at the birthplace of Black August—San Quentin State Prison—on August 1, 2017.

Cole made the prison visit during the middle of the North American leg of his “4 Your Eyez Only tour.” 

Black August originated on the ground of the prison camp of San Quentin 1979. African prisoners would wear black armbands to remember the heroic, revolutionary actions of the #SoledadBrothers, the San Quentin Six, Jonathan Jackson, Khatari Gaulden and all our fallen Freedom Fighters. 

Cole’s manager, Ibrahim Hamad, shared photos of the “life changing experience” that shows the rapper sitting outside of the prison yard with a group of men and later, touring inside the actual prison camp.

“We got the opportunity to spend the day at San Quentin State Prison talking and meeting inmates who will never see the outside again,” Ibrahim captioned the images. “That experience was a life changing experience and wish I had the ability to put that in a caption but that wouldn’t be doing it justice.”

We peep you, J. Cole

We must ask ourselves what are the motives behind the prison visit? Also why was Cole able to visit the prison and roam almost freely?

J. Cole once rapped, “What good is takin’ over when we know what you gon’ do? The only real revolution happens right inside you.”

This statement is not inly anti-revolutionary, but also makes it clear to the white ruling class that Cole is not a threat to their system. The oppressor knows that his conversations with the prisoners will not be about getting organized and taking power.

They know that Cole won’t hold the State accountable for placing an attack on the African nation through mass incarceration.

They also know that Cole will simply preach to the prisoners why they must just change themselves, and leave the system of colonialism in tact as Africans are incapable of governing ourselves. 

We urge Cole to take up the mantle and spread African Internationalism to the masses through your songs. You do not get to talk down on African people in one breath then turn around and attempt to profit off of the struggle. We peep you J. Cole. 

Sponsor a prisoner today! 

African prisoners behind bars must be given the opportunity to participate in all levels of the movement and organization.

They must have a media to report on and support the struggles that are being made on the inside. The Burning Spear newspaper must be available to our comrades who are locked down.

So bring the Revolution to our people behind bars! Sponsor a prisoner! 

Black August: 31 Days of African Resistance!
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