On Thursday night (June 4), nearly 200 people tuned in on Instagram Live to hear co-founder and CEO of 300 Entertainment Kevin Liles discuss systemic racism, police brutality and how he and his company are fighting for change.
After opening his Live by playing a brand new track from Trey Songz, called “How Many Times,” Liles started the conversation by talking about the murder of George Floyd, saying: “What bothered me the most is that he called for his mother… we have heard ‘I can’t breathe’ so much but to see a grown man reach and say ‘mama’… it just puts it all in perspective. It’s sickening. We’re in a state of emergency.”
Over the span of two hours, Liles invited nearly 10 guests into the chat from Minnesota rapper and WEON Records CEO, MN Fats, to Houston-based iHeartMedia music director, Ashlee Young, to pastor Raphael Warnock, who is running in Georgia for U.S. Senate. After several informative and productive conversations, Liles closed out his Live by debuting a new song from 300 artist Tee Grizzley, called “Mr. Officer.”
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Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Liles’ IG Live.
— During the Live, Liles officially endorsed Democratic candidate Joe Biden for president, saying: “We have someone in the White House who is a proven racist, and he keeps reminding us. The consequences are so great if we don’t vote. Stop being fucking lazy and go to vote.org. Everybody’s got a fucking job to do, this if your life.” He later revealed that he’s reviewing Biden’s plan for Black America, and working to make sure “we don’t have a white supremacist in the White House ever again.”
— Special guest Big Boy, a veteran Los Angeles radio and morning show host at Real 92.3, stressed the importance of keeping this energy when it comes to the November election, adding that he had an “interesting conversation” with Snoop Dogg on air this week in which the artist revealed he’s never voted before. “He said, ‘Man, I’m gonna vote this year because I can’t just talk about it, I got to be about it,” said Big Boy. “I’m seeing a unity, and I just hope it’s real.”
— During Liles’ conversation with MN Fats, the rapper and CEO said: “I’m very educated, very deep in my community, so watching another young brother get killed … as strong as I am, I shouldn’t have to feel helpless.” Soon after, Tuma Basa, YouTube director of urban music, popped up in the comments to write: “Until this…always though Minnesota was progressive.” MN Fats continued to explain his thoughts on the destruction of property in his home state, saying that, “We’re not just going to burn shit down, we’re going to build shit up. What do you with your braids? … You have to undo something to redo it and make it beautiful.” Liles shared that he’s putting together a coalition, and plans to visit Minnesota soon, saying: “The lack of economic justice is a disease.” And before MN Fats signed off, he declared: “It might sound crazy to everybody else in the world, but I’m going to demand that [Minnesota] Govenor Walz demand reparations for black people in his state.”
— Liles’ last guest was pastor Raphael Warnock, who said many people ask him how a preacher is running for U.S. Senate, to which he replies: “It gives me an opportunity to say to say that the first black U.S. senator was a preacher.” Earlier, Liles had mentioned a list of names in need of support, in addition to Warnock, that also included South Carolina’s Jaime Harrison (who is also running for U.S. Senate) and Atlanta’s Lucy McBath, who is running for Congress. “We need more voices of color in congress — and we need it now,” said Liles.
— Throughout the two-hour Live, Liles didn’t just speak with these guests but he also put his money where his mouth is. For each guest he had on, he made at least one — but often more — donations from himself and 300 in their name. While Liles himself mentioned bail funds, Black Lives Matter, The Freedom Fund and his HBCU alma matter, Morgan State University (of which he is a “proud funder and supporter”), he also donated to Trae Tha Truth’s non-profit organization, Angel by Nature; made two $1,000 donations on behalf of Big Boy to donate in the name of selected listeners; and also had a Brooklyn man who was tuning in and hies guest DJ Bonics, who is Wiz Khalifa’s DJ, select a foundation of their choice. Said Liles: “America has never been great for Black people, for Latinos, for all of us working just to get by.”