Zuby's case: A mistake or racial profiling?
If you’re interested in rap music overseas, or the issues of racial profiling and police misconduct — or if you’re just looking for an intense afternoon read — I highly recommend that you take a look at U.K. rapper Zuby’s latest MySpace blog. Zuby is the stage name of Nzube Udezue, an Oxford-educated twenty-something who’s trying to make it in the music biz. On a recent Saturday afternoon, he was out in southern England doing what that entails: selling his CDs, wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “I’M DOWN WITH ZUBY,” pretty standard up-and-coming musician stuff. Except that some police officers who spotted him on the train seemed to think his shirt and his skin color “matched a description” of a suspect in a crime committed miles away. So they surrounded him, pointed all their guns at him, and made him lie face down on the ground while they handcuffed and arrested him — a seriously traumatic experience, needless to say. Of course, after hauling Zuby (who has no criminal record) in to the station house, they realized they had the wrong guy and sent him home with an apology. Funny how you end up having to apologize when you decide to go into full-on police crisis mode on a random commuter just because of how he looks.
This story is rightly becoming something of a cause célèbre in the U.K. Me, I’m just glad this incident in the train station didn’t spin even further out of control. But after all Zuby’s been through in the past couple weeks, I figure the least we can do is give his music a listen — which is all he was hoping would happen when he left his home that morning, after all. He’s got some tracks up at his MySpace, and you can check out his recent single “Too Many” below. It’s a pretty solid cut, and just for the record, it doesn’t really have any lyrics that could be construed as particularly violent or crime-glorifying — not that there’d necessarily be anything wrong with that, and not that any kind of musical content could remotely justify the treatment he got that weekend, but it’s just another sad little irony in this story. So you tell me: What do you think of Zuby’s music, and/or the way the British police targeted him?