"For years you fought to keep this nation from the very thing we have now become."
T.I. became increasingly vocal about politics in 2016, from his powerful Us or Else project, to his continued support of the Black Lives Matter movement (publicly criticizing both Floyd Mayweather and close friend Lil Wayne for their dismissal of BLM). He begins 2017 with similar goals, but with Trump set to take presidency earlier this month, there's a lot of work ahead of him.
Before Obama leaves office, Tip has shared an open letter to the president in the New York Times. He thanks Obama for giving America the potential for change, though he argues they may not have been ready for it.
You entered humbly into our worlds from the streets of the South Side of Chicago and galvanized a generation. You resonated from the barbershops to the airwaves to the streets of every hood across America. Many of US did not know your name, nor did we truly understand the impact you would have on the world in the years, months and days that followed.
As I reflect, I am filled with gratitude, outrage, grief, anger, humility and appreciation, both for the things you helped bring to light and the many things we still have yet to realize.
For years you fought to keep this nation from the very thing we have now become.
For years, many of US failed you because, as I’ve said before, we were not all ready for the change you wanted to bring about.
But rest assured that we heard you. Rest assured that we felt you and rest assured that your legacy will live on long after your presidency.
Not only did you impact a nation, but you defined a culture and you shook up and woke up a generation.
The rapper suggests that Obama's ideas will continue to be carried by those who choose to fight for progress.
A generation that unfortunately fears more than ever being further wounded, overlooked, abused, neglected and having to fight for what we now understand is not such a basic right and that is the plight for equality and basic human dignity.
While many of US act like this is something new, those of US who have been fighting, marching and writing about it know that inequality, hatred and bigotry has crippled and silenced US for a very long time. Although we are wounded, don’t count US out of the fight.
The letter closes with a sincere thank you to the whole Obama family for their compassion and their sacrifices.
We will forever be grateful to you and your family, the graceful intelligent compassionate first lady, Mrs. Obama, as well as your beautiful daughters Sasha and Malia for their collective sacrifices for US. WE will continue to stand with you and alongside those who make a personal investment in US. We will continue to remain committed to causes that are bigger than ourselves. We will continue to remind ourselves that, Yes, We still can!
Read T.I.'s full letter and accompanying interview at The New York Times.