Macklemore's Trayvon Martin AMA Acceptance Speech Causes Stir

Monday, 25 Nov 2013 02:14 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Macklemore used his acceptance speech at Sunday night's American Music Awards to interject his political beliefs, mentioning the death of Trayvon Martin and calling for a movement against "racism and the laws that protect it."

Flanked by his collaborator and producer Ryan Lewis, Macklemore, whose actual name is Ben Haggerty, accepted the award for favorite rap/hip-hop album via a live satellite from Miami, Fla.

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Macklemore began the acceptance speech by thanking AMA voters and then quoting Martin Luther King, saying "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

"Due to the fact that we are in Florida tonight accepting this award I want to acknowledge Trayvon Martin and the hundreds and hundreds of kids each year that are dying due to racial profiling and the violence that follows it," Macklemore said. "This is really happening. These are our friends, our neighbors, our peers and our fans, and it's time that we look out for the youth and fight against racism and the laws that protect it."


The 30-year-old from Seattle, who is one of the few prominent white rappers, rose to fame earlier in this year primarily for his hit single "Thrift Shop." He received the American Music Award for his album "The Heist."

Though Macklemore does not specify what law he is referring to, he is likely alluding to the Sunshine State's stand your ground law. His statement was met with a roar of applause from the audience.

Following the death of the unarmed, African-American 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was killed by neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman in February 2012, various progressives and black leaders similarly characterized the stand your ground law as racist.

Following Macklemore's statement, his producer Lewis concluded the segment by telling the audience, "We are so lucky to be here. Thank you very much to our family, our friends, and out incredible fans. We love you guys!"

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