Despite the best efforts of the Hamilton Electors and other protesters, Donald Trump will be sworn in as president of the United States on Friday, January 20. With the inauguration looming, rapper T.I. (Tip Harris) has written an impassioned open letter to soon-to-be President Trump, imploring him to keep the best interests of all Americans in mind during his presidency.
The letter, which was published by Rolling Stone, begins with T.I. expressing a desire to speak openly about the discrimination and prejudice that runs rampant in America and has been helped along by Trump’s campaign.
‘I want to be responsible, honest and respectful, but in no way apologetic about the rage and resentment that many of US have been suppressing for far too long. In turn, I hope that we can be equally as honest about the prejudice, bias and narrow-mindedness that many of US have felt our nation has been disguising and denying for far too long.’
He then reminds Trump that all the world has their eyes on him as his tenure begins.
‘As you transition into your role as the President of the United States, you will undoubtedly be one of the most watched people in the history of the world. So, I can’t help but ask in the midst of our nation’s calamity and discord: What do you want US to see?’
T.I. went on to write several paragraphs spelling out for Trump the unique challenges that black Americans face daily in the United States. An excerpt from those paragraphs can be read below.
‘Maybe I should take the time to share what many of US would like you to see. Should it ever at times seem as though WE are against YOU, I assure you it’s a result of YOU defining yourself as the representative for those who are and who always have been against US. The deck has always been stacked against US in this country. With every generation there has been strategic steps taken to oppress, imprison and control US. All we’ve ever wanted was equality and empathy as the historically disenfranchised citizens that we are, in a nation that we’ve contributed to just as much as anyone else who calls America their home.’
T.I. explained that he was sharing his descriptions of the effects of systematic oppression in America “in hopes of creating healthy dialogue.” He followed this message up with an apology to Trump “for the friction and hostility that inevitably comes with US feeling years of pain, neglect, resentment and not being heard.” He also added an expression of hope for the future:
‘I am hopeful that we will not go and repeat the mistakes of the past. I am hopeful that we will all work to right our wrongs and become better men and women and a better nation.’
The letter ends with a powerful question to Trump, a question that many Americans would surely love an answer to:
‘When the stage is dark and the lights and cameras are off … Who are you? And more importantly, who do you want to be?’
Many Americans, particularly those who are part of marginalized groups, are understandably worried about what the next for years under Trump mean for them. They can take a little bit of comfort, though, knowing that people like T.I. are working hard to hold Trump accountable.
Listen to T.I. read his full letter below, via SoundCloud.
Featured image via Brad Barket/Getty Images for TIDAL.