ATLANTA — Atlanta rapper Lil Baby used his platform at the Grammy Awards on Sunday to bring a controversial police shooting back into the spotlight.
Lil Baby's performance of "The Bigger Picture" echoed familiar beats from the shooting of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. Brooks was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer in June, following a struggle when officers tried to arrest him for DUI in a Wendy's parking lot.
The Grammy performance began with a man, played by actor Kendrick Sampson, being gunned down by police. Shortly after, the building behind Lil Baby went up in flames. The imagery is familiar to anyone who watched the Wendy's on University Avenue burn the night after Brooks was killed. The building became a temporary memorial for Brooks before it was torn down.
Atlanta rapper and activist Killer Mike was featured in the performance, as well as Women's March co-founder Tamika Mallory. During her part of the performance, Mallory spoke directly to the Biden administration.
"President Biden, we demand justice, equity, policy, and everything else that freedom encompasses. And to accomplish this, we don't need allies, we need accomplices," Mallory said.
In a behind-the-scenes video released before the big night, the activists involved described why this performance was so important.
“So many people are looking for institutions like the Grammys to step to the plate and to allow us to voice the real true deep feelings that so many communities are trying to process every day,” Mallory said in the video.
Lil Baby released "The Bigger Picture" in response to the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests that followed. The song earned him two Grammy nominations for best rap song and best rap performance.
In the end, "Savage" by Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé took home both wins.