American rapper, songwriter and producer, Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., popularly known as T.I has written a letter to the Lloyd’s of London demanding reparation for the descendants of African slaves for the shameful role they played in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
This letter came at the backdrop of an open declaration by two British firms, Lloyd’s of London and Greene King that, they will make amends for the various roles they played during slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries.
In an earlier address, Lloyd’s spokesperson stated that, “Lloyd’s has a long and rich history dating back over 330 years, but there are some aspects of our history that we are not proud of. In particular, we are sorry for the role played by the Lloyd’s market in the eighteenth and nineteenth-century slave trade. This was an appalling and shameful period of English history, as well as our own, and we condemn the indefensible wrongdoing that occurred during this period,” whilst the chief executive of Greene King, Nick Mackenzie also said that, “It is inexcusable that one of our founders profited from slavery and argued against its abolition in the 1800s.”
According to researchers at the University College London (UCL), one of Greene King’s founders, Benjamin Greene, held at least 231 human beings in slavery and became an enthusiastic supporter of the practice. Moreover, after slavery was abolished in the British empire in 1833, the government decided to compensate slaveholders instead of the enslaved people who deserved it. Greene is on record to have received about £500,000.
In a bid to make amends for the damages caused, the two companies pledged their support by way of sponsoring charity organizations that promote racial diversity and inclusion and also invest in the recruitment and well-being of black minority people.
However, the rapper is not buying all these; He is demanding more than what they have offered. An excerpt from his letter to Lloyd’s reads that, “it has come to our notice that, your company was built on the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors. We have seen you apologize for your “shameful role” in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, but that simply is not enough.”
He further stated that there must be serious talks about how to pay back the descendants of African slaves whom were humiliated, terrorized, beaten and broken. He added that these slaves shaped every aspect of modern-day global economy.
The rapper proposed four major reparation steps to be taken by the company: He demanded that 10% of the ownership of the company be given to the descendants of African slaves, a board diversification with at least one out of the 15 board members being an African-American, accurate annual tracking of reparations and a million-dollar cash loan at 1% interest rate as financial compensation to every black American, once in their lifetime.
In an attached note to the letter, T.I indicated that “Our people have been financially impaired & economically disabled due to the systemic oppression and institutional racism it leaves behind.” He has demanded that the company confirm receipt of his letter in not less than 10business working days and expected a comprehensive reparation plan by end of 2020.