Set to the instrumental of Kendrick Lamar and Taylour Page’s chilling “We Cry Together,” in a new song and video, Buffalo, New York, native Benny the Butcher calls out the societal ills that led to the May 14 racism-fueled shooting at his hometown Tops Friendly Markets grocery store.
An 18-year-old attacker shot and killed 10 victims, all of whom were Black. While the shooting was the second deadliest this year, some celebrities — including Dave Chappelle and Buffalo Bills players — decried the insufficient attention and press coverage around the attack. On “Welcome to the States,” Benny calls out the hateful ideologies behind mass shootings like Buffalo’s, and the inaction of government officials to bring about a remedy.
“Mass shooting in my city eight minutes from where my block at,” he raps to the image of police officers in SWAT gear holding assault rifles, later going on to critique fundraising efforts that allegedly have not materialized, rapping, “Don’t no money come out of those fake GoFundMe accounts.”
In addition to a fundraiser linked from the track’s YouTube page, Benny is also selling limited-edition T-shirts with “Pray for Buffalo, NY” on the front and the names of victims on the back, and donating 100 percent of the proceeds to the Buffalo 5-14 Survivors Fund. According to an Instagram post, the 37-year-old rapper was inspired to act following a conversation with a friend whose mother was a victim of the shooting and failed to receive any funds despite reporters on television claiming “millions” had been donated to victims.
“Being from Buffalo I deal with the REAL issues not that TV photo opp press statement shit,” he wrote. “Purchase a shirt by goin to the link in bio and kno the money goin where it needs to go.”
According to a 180-page “manifesto” written by the shooter, he intentionally targeted that particular section of Buffalo due to the concentration of Black residents. TMZ also revealed alleged images of the assault rifle used by the shooter, showing scribbled-on racial slurs alongside the acronym SYGAOWN (stop your genocide against our white nations). The Buffalo tragedy was one of reportedly more than 200 mass shootings in the U.S. this year alone, with only five days in the month of May without a mass shooting.