Photo Credit: Johnny Nunez/BET/Getty

Photo Credit: Johnny Nunez/BET/Getty

The BET Hip Hop Awards aired last night. Yeah, I wasn’t aware either.

Snoop Dogg served as host. There were the usual cyphers and battle raps. I’m guessing some awards were given out. But perhaps more importantly the conscious Chicago born and bred MC Common gave a powerful performance of  a remixed version of the Nobody Smiling track “Kingdom”. Rappers Vince Staples and Jay Electronica joined him on stage.There was also a gospel choir behind them so you know it was the realeast.

At the end of the song, Common brought out Michael Brown’s parents, Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, and everyone on stage stopped and joined together for the very familiar “hands up, don’t shoot” pose.  The audience went silent and then you see everyone’s hands go up in the same pose. It’s a powerful moment and a reminder of what happens when musicians use their clout to bring attention to social justice issues, to bear witness and call out injustice.

Watch the performance below.

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