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Before nine innocent people were brutally murdered by self-proclaimed hatemonger Dylann Roof in Charleston, South Carolina, the co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale, and R&B/soul crooner D’Angelo met for the first time in Oakland, California.

Like D’Angelo’s 2014 Black Messiah album, the conversations between these conscious figures embodied ideas surrounding the Black man’s plight in America, social injustice, systemic oppression, and political clout.

D’Angelo met up with Bobby Seale in “Oak Town,” and the political activist showed the “Really Love” crooner historic places where the Black Panther Party resided and organized. The New York Times was able to tag along for the ride. These are the most interesting things discussed during their time together in Oakland.

Check it out below.

Huey P. Newton

1. Bobby thinks his late friend Huey P. Newton got in trouble when he made himself the leader of the Black Panther Party. During their conversation, D’Angelo grappled with the idea of being a “leader” for political music.

D’Angelo: “…But I do realize and understand that my role as a musician, and in the medium that I am, that people are listening to me. Kids are listening to me. We have power to influence minds and influence lives. So I respect that power. I really do. I’m not putting myself on a pedestal or anything like that. I think that’s dangerous. When you start playing with that, and you’re not careful, you can get yourself into trouble.”

Bobby Seale: “That’s right. My man Huey Newton got himself into trouble.”

2. Bobby Seale thinks the only way the millennial generation can liberate is to immerse themselves in politics by occupying high-powered political positions (mentioning Baltimore D.A. Marilyn Mosby). 

“I want to see 1,001 people like the Baltimore [state’s attorney] sister Marilyn Mosby. She ran over there with her power, her political power seat, and then indicted the six officers responsible for killing Freddie Gray.”

Photo of D'ANGELO

3. D’Angelo knew long before his album was created that he wanted to title the project Black Messiah. There’s also a few unreleased songs he plans on sharing in the fall, one of which is titled “Go & Tell Bro.”

“But on this album in particular, before the songs were even written, I knew that the name of it was going to be “Black Messiah.” There are also songs that didn’t make the record but that I’m getting ready to release in the fall. I got a song called “Go and Tell Bro.’”

4. D’Angelo references Kendrick Lamar multiple times in the article, citing him as one of the artists trying to make consciousness cool. 

“My contribution and say, Kendrick Lamar’s and some chosen others’ start the snowball. That’s all I can hope for. I don’t know if I’m comfortable being quote-unquote a leader.”

2012 BET Awards - Show

5. While referencing Kendrick Lamar, D’Angelo shades Young Thug and Young Jeezy for making “ridiculous” music.

“Kendrick Lamar, he’s an example of someone who is young and actually trying to say something. Who else? You got Young Jeezy and Young Thug. You know what I’m saying? It’s stupid. It’s ridiculous.”

6. D’Angelo’s afraid the #BlackLivesMatter movement will die if millennials don’t stay focused on the end goal – equality. 

“It needs a true agenda, a central committee, some type of leadership. Otherwise it does just end up being a hashtag, #Black Lives Matter. I do think it’s more than a statement. It’s a movement. I’m scared, though, that it’s in danger of not going anywhere. It’s just going to fizzle.”

Bobby Seale

7. Bobby Seale doesn’t condone retaliating against cops following police brutality. 

“There are good cops, straight cops. They don’t run around brutalizing people for the sake of brutalizing people. They’re my friends. I want people to make that distinction. I know why the riots happened, and I know they’re going to happen as long as we have this rampant police brutality going on and there’s no justice going. But I discourage it. I put straight up on my Facebook: “We do not assassinate police! We will not stoop to the low scurvy mentality and the level of a murderer, a fascist, a racist, etc. We don’t do that!’.”

SOURCE: NYT | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Warehouse Live, Royal Oak Music Theatre

D’Angelo & Black Panther Co-Founder Bobby Seale Hung Out In Oakland, Here’s What Happened  was originally published on