More Culture:

June 25, 2018

Meek Mill debuts 'Stay Woke' single about police brutality at BET Awards

The rapper's performance, along with singer Miguel, drew attention to his personal story of conflicts with cops in Philly

Meek Mill BET
Meek Mill Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup/Sipa USA

Meek Mill performs on the 2018 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, Calif.

Meek Mill debuted his new single, “Stay Woke,” with Miguel Sunday night at the BET Music Awards. The performance opens to what appears to be a Philadelphia street corner, where two men are reading a fake newspaper titled, “Philly News.” The street becomes slowly populated with kids and adults roaming about as a shade of darkness covers the entire performance.

While Mill raps, he stays soft through a melodic tone, a dream grew distant, as he mentions, “I used to wanna play like Randall and be an Eagle/I used to play the quarterback, my dog would go receiver/that was ’til the ball got flat by a dope needle on the pavement.”

As the murkiness draws through the stage, cops rush through the crowd of people in the streets. A fight breaks out, and to the side, a mother and two children are hiding behind a Post Office dropbox. The child escapes, gun shots ring out, and darkness turns to a black out. It fades up to a mother wailing into the night and holding a child, who has been shot. In the background, a cop covers the child with an American flag and Mills raps, “How can I pledge allegiance to the flag/When they killin’ all our sons, all our dads?”

As many remember, Meek Mill was sentenced back in November for violating his probation, despite the prosecutor’s recommendation that Mill had matured since the originating crime. He was released in April after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered for his immediate release. Sunday's performance ends rather reflective of his personal story, with a backdrop of jailed men in orange jumpsuits, slamming their jail cell walls down.

Check out the full performance below.