T.I. demands reparations for descendants of enslaved Africans in open letter

Tip is putting U.K.’s Lloyd’s of London “on notice” after the company acknowledged their involvement in the Transatlantic slave trade.

  /  07.19.2020

As statues of disgraced slave traders and racist figures come tumbling down as the fight against police brutality and social injustice against Black Americans continues, T.I. implores U.K. insurer Lloyd’s of London to make amends by paying reparations to the descendants of African slaves.

The 300-year-old British insurance behemoth recently acknowledged their role in the enslavement of African bodies in the Transatlantic slave trade.

“There are some aspects of our history that we are not proud of,” Lloyd’s said in a statement to The New York Times. “This was an appalling and shameful period of British history, as well as our own, and we condemn the indefensible wrongdoing that occurred during this period.”

According to The New York Times, Lloyd’s expressed that moving forward, in an effort to make amends, they are committed to investing in the recruitment of more Black, Asian, and other minority groups for employment. They also plan on providing financial support to charities that promote diversity. Additionally, they say that they will examine how they present their history as well as “organizational artifacts” to make sure they are “explicitly non-racist.”

In response, Tip penned an open letter Saturday (July 18) calling Lloyd’s admittance “admirable,” however, the King artist does not think that their admission is enough. The Grammy award-winning rapper described their words as “merely lip service” and “too vague.”

As noted by Afua Hirsch, a columnist at The Guardian, Lloyd’s promise to also steer funds towards other minority groups, however, shows “a complete lack of understanding that this is a history that involves Black people, and not even all Black people, but specifically those of Afro-Caribbean descent.”

T.I. is asking that Lloyd’s share their method of procedure for how they plan on rectifying their “shameful” involvement in the slave trade

“We demand equitable financial consideration for their ‘shameful role’ (quoting them) they played in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade,” he captioned on Instagram of the two-page letter addressed to Lloyd’s of London. “Our people have been financially impaired & economically disabled due to the systemic oppression and institutional racism it leaves behind.”

The multi-platinum artist also outlined a series of suggestions of how Lloyd’s can truly make amends.

Giving 10 percent ownership of Lloyd’s to the descendants of African slaves, accurate annual tracking of reparations, a $1 million cash loan at a 1 percent interest rate to every Black American adult once in their lifetime for the next 200 years and the appointment of at least one Black American on its 15-seat board are among the suggestions T.I. lists.

Tip is also encouraging the company to maintain an open dialogue with the community and would like them to present their “comprehensive reparation plan” by fall.

Besides Lloyd’s of London, The New York Times also reports that there are a total of nine British firms who in some way benefited from slavery, even after the practice was abolished. HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank and Lloyds Banking Group are among the companies listed, according to a study by the University College London.

The topic of reparations for the descendants of African slaves in America has been long-debated. More recently, the argument has made its way into the 2020 U.S. presidential race as a hot-button issue. 

Last year, U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee presented the H.R. 40 bill for the government to create a commission that what study and detail how reparations would be executed.

Nevertheless, some states in America have already taken steps to pay out reparations to descendants of enslaved Africans. 

In Virginia, an Episcopal seminary announced that they set aside $1.7 million in reparations for the descendants of slaves who worked on its campus. Georgetown University promised to raise money that would benefit the descendants of the 272 enslaved Africans they sold to help keep the school up and running.

On Tuesday (July 14), the city council of Asheville, North Carolina unanimously voted to give financial payments to Black residents as one of the first U.S. cities to approve reparations

“We have waited long enough and our community deserves real action and much more than empty apologies or platitudes,” T.I. signed off on the letter. “Please confirm receipt of this letter no later than 10 days from today as we are eager to begin a healthy dialogue about how to best address these issues.”

Check out T.I.’s open letter to Lloyd’s of London demanding reparations for the descendants of African slaves below.



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