Lil Baby Enlists Kendrick Sampson, Tamika Mallory and Killer Mike for Social Justice-Focused Grammys Performance
Lil Baby performed “The Bigger Picture” in a powerful call to action against police brutality during the 63rd annual Grammy Awards. The rapper was joined during at points by three prominent activists: “Insecure” star Kendrick Sampson, Women’s March cofounder Tamika Mallory and Atlanta rapper Killer Mike.
Following an intro from James Baldwin, the performance opened with Sampson’s character being gunned down by a police officer. The scene seemed to echo the killing of Rayshard Brooks, who was shot by police at a Wendy’s in Atlanta, Ga. in June 2020. Mallory and Killer Mike appeared in interludes during Lil Baby’s performance, calling for equality and safety for Black people and with Mallory demanding action from the Biden Administration specifically.
“My performance is important to me and I had to make sure it was right. Nominations aside, actually performing “The Bigger Picture” means the most to me,” Lil Baby stated after the performance. “I paint pictures with my songs and wanted the performance to bring that picture to life. Just like with the song, this performance had to reflect the real. No sugar-coating. My family, my fans and my city know who I do this for.”
Ahead of the performance, Sampson appeared on E!’s red carpet pre-show, telling host Giuliana Rancic, “It feels like a history moment … I’m praying and hoping that [the] ancestors are proud that we honor the movement in this performance, and inspire folks to incorporate liberation in to their art more.”
Sampson also noted that it was one year ago on Saturday that Breonna Taylor was killed.
“We want to celebrate and honor her and I believe that we do it through our art and our lives,” he explained. “The same anti-Blackness that devalues are art is the same anti-Blackness that devalues our lives and that’s what leads to the violence against people like Breonna Taylor and so many others.”
The Atlanta rapper — born Dominique Armani Jones — was up for two Grammy Awards, including best rap song and best rap performance for “The Bigger Picture,” which was a response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police last year and the Black Lives Matters protest of summer 2020.
Lil Baby’s album, “My Turn”, was released at the end of February 2020. It entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1 and remained in the Top 5 for 14 weeks, and then returned to the top spot n June for four consecutive weeks.
Earlier this month, he released the single “Real As It Gets” featuring Kentucky rapper EST Gee. It is the first single since the release of “Errybody” and “On Me” on his birthday in December 2020.
He will also guest on the forthcoming release of Alabama rapper Clever’s album, alongside other artists including Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Post Malone and the late Juice WRLD.
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