Guess it doesn’t really matter who you are…especially if you’re a black man.
He recalled his first encounter with the police back in 1982 when he and a friend were driving back from purchasing the U2 album, The Joshua Tree.
“A cop stopped us, and he was holding a gun on us. There is nothing like the first time that a gun is held on you,” he said. “We’re 16, mind you, like 16, 17 years old, and I just remember the protocol, I remember my father telling me, like, ‘If you’re ever in this position, you’re to slowly keep your hands up.’…How I knew that was the protocol at that young age, I mean, it’s probably a sad commentary, but it was also a matter of survival.”
The co-founder and drummer of The Roots and music manager on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon said that the profiling hasn’t stopped – he even gets stopped now as a famous musician.
According to Think Progress, Questlove was pulled over just a few weeks ago for reasons unknown.
After finishing a regular Thursday night DJ gig in Brooklyn, police officers pulled over him and his driver, shined flashlights into the car, and asked him: “Why are you sitting in the back seat like a don?” The police only released him after he showed them a copy of his new memoir, Mo’ Meta Blues.
But the most humiliating experience he shared came the night before he won a Grammy, which was also the night he appeared at a 2010 appearance for President Obama in Orange County, California.
He had pulled over to call his manager when five police cars began to surround his car. Police then made him exit his car and wait in the back of a police cruiser while they searched his car. “The stuff I had in the trunk were some psychology books and some Scrabble games. In my head, I thought, there’s no way that they’re going to believe that that stuff belongs to me.”
And naturally, no matter how many albums he’s sold or Grammys he’s won, being stopped because he’s a black man never gets easier.
“It’s the most humiliated, emasculating feeling I’ve ever had. I only feel low when that happens…How much more can I play it safe? Like, I’m already purposely taking myself out of situations because I want to avoid that. But I don’t know how much more I can suppress myself to not seem like a threat,” he said.
We don’t know Quest, but something needs to change. Watch the full video above.