The rapper Lil Wayne has given a Nightline interview in which he seemingly dismissed the Black Lives Matter movement by proclaiming, “I don’t feel connected to a damn thing that ain’t got nothin’ to do with me.” (He also noted, “My life matter, especially to my bitches.”)
It feels a little weird to write this after recently addressing my father-in-law’s imprisonment for objecting to the treatment of the Taiwanese people, but Lil Wayne has every right to think only of himself. Hell, it’s almost understandable in his case, as during his time in prison his protégé Drake allegedly slept with his girlfriend and he’s been involved in a feud with his former mentor Birdman that’s essentially shut down his recording career (and may even be responsible for an attempt on Lil Wayne’s life).
Indeed, Lil Wayne is only following a path laid out by the late, great Ol’ Dirty Bastard of the Wu-Tang Clan, who when asked during an interview on MTV what he was doing to give back to the community responded in a word:
In many ways, it makes sense for Lil Wayne to look at the world and decide: “I can’t trust anyone. I can take care of myself. It’s easier to go it alone.”
Andre Braugher begs to differ.
This is not Andre Braugher, the Emmy-nominated comedic delight on Brooklyn Nine-Nine: this is Andrew Braugher, the brilliant, driven detective on the TV series Homicide (which paved the way for The Wire). Braugher’s character is a clean-living family man obsessed with doing his job right. In one episode he has a run-in with a fellow cop who is, shall we say, of less upstanding moral fabric. (We know this because he is played by Daniel Baldwin, the worst of the Baldwin brothers.) I may be getting the wording slightly wrong, but Braugher tells Baldwin:
“Every life has value. [PAUSE SO HE CAN DROP THE HAMMER] Even yours.”
Thus Braugher defines himself in six words. For him, all people are genuinely equal: Each victim must be avenged (even ones who probably deserved to die) and each killer must be captured (even ones who are otherwise decent people and whose actions are in many ways justifiable). Why? Because life is valuable, even if we treat it as something that can be lightly tossed away.
You may not agree with how inflexibly this Jesuit-educated officer views his role—his own partner (ably played by Kyle Secor) frequently begs to differ—but it’s a view that holds every person is connected and every person has worth.
I hope most of us continue to believe it, no matter how depressing the world gets or how many of our girlfriends Drake bangs.