On Sunday night (March 14), Lil Baby took the stage to perform his Black Lives Matter-inspired single, “The Bigger Picture.” The performance — based on police brutality and racial injustices in America — included a loose reenactment of the death of Rayshard Brooks — the Atlanta resident who was fatally shot by cops while in a Wendy’s drive-thru — a speech from activist Tamika Mallory and a few bars from Run The Jewels’ own Killer Mike.
Though praised by many, Lil Baby was at the receiving hand of much criticism, especially from those who argued injust and horrific police killings should not be reenacted. The rapper, however, is unbothered by critics of the performance.
In an interview with Billboard, Lil Baby explained his intentions behind his act, which he started thinking about over the summer.
“I wanted to use a specific situation that would give people an understanding of where I come from,” he said. “I didn’t really want to use the George Floyd or Breonna Taylor [killings] or something. I wanted to use something that stood by me. [Rayshard Brooks’ killing] happened in Atlanta, and I live in Atlanta, and I’ve been in some of those same exact situations.”
While many artists at the Grammys provided fans with an escape from reality, Lil Baby wanted to bring the issues he’s experienced to the forefront.
“It’s a never-ending saga for the people who really live in it but to the world… stuff like that dies down when no one’s talking about it,” he explained. “…It’s way bigger than just a song to me. It doesn’t die down for me when the world is not rioting or talking about police brutality, or the whole problematic system. I’m still thinking about it — it’s still something that I gotta face. I’m still that same guy who could fall asleep in my car one night, and I could wake up to police in front of me. I’ve been in those types of situations, and thank God I never lost my life in any of them.”