GSU hip-hop culture professor says Takeoff’s death isn’t a rap problem, it’s a human issue

ATLANTA — There’s renewed concern about an uptick in violence in the entertainment industry.

It comes after the shocking death of popular rapper and Gwinnett County native Takeoff, one-third of the Grammy-nominated trio, the “Migos.”

Dr. Lakeyta Bonnette-Bailey, a professor who specializes in hip-hop culture and politics at Georgia State University, says she felt what millions of people felt went she woke up to the news Tuesday morning.

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“I was devastated,” Bonnette-Bailey said.

Takeoff was known to fans as the reserved, quiet, youngest member of the group.

“I want to pause again because sometimes the hip-hop community gets a bad name,” said Houston Police Chief Troy Finner. “There are a lot of great people in our hip-hop community and I respect them.”

Finner says he sees the violence that hip-hop artists are facing and can’t stop it alone.


“I’m calling up on everybody,” Finner said. “Our hip-hop artists in Houston and around the nation. I want to meet with some of our artists to see how we can taper things down.”

Police are calling on the public to come forward with any information in the case.

“This shooting is indicative of the violence we have in society today,” said Bonnette-Bailey.

She says it’s a stereotype to assume all rap artists are linked to violence.

She says it has a lot to do with the climate we live in.

“There are a number of mental health issues,” Bonnette-Bailey said. “The disvaluing of life and I think this is something that we’re seeing with increased crime rates in our society today.”

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She says often people link rap lyrics to crime than focus on the root of the problem.

“We have to still remember that rap is an art form,” Bonnette-Bailey said. “When we hear about rappers, we assume that they are people that are immune to this type of violence, because they should have more protection. They are not as guarded or as protected as anyone else in society.”