A rapper-turned-Democratic politician celebrated the start of his state’s legislative session by protesting the Pledge of Allegiance. Instead of reciting the pledge with his hand over his heart, he raised a fist to symbolize “black power.”
Missouri state Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. is no stranger to controversy and radical activism. He often participates in protests for racial equality and against police brutality. In his office hangs a “Black Lives Matter” sign, and he fancies himself a sort-of urban superhero, often wearing a Superman shirt to make the point.
SuperHeroes save those who don't want to be saved, and also those who don't know they need to be saved! pic.twitter.com/QsNJVDwjWF
— Bruce Franks Jr (@brucefranksjr) September 18, 2016
In November, we reported on Franks’ participation in a protest that shut down the Galleria mall in St. Louis on Black Friday. Fights that elevated to a near-riot broke out, and Franks was arrested. The incident was even caught on video and uploaded to Worldstar Hip-Hop.
Franks stood with his fist raised during the pledge, instead of putting it over his heart, according to local reports. Franks told the Associated Press he prefers “to pledge allegiance to the people” instead of the American flag. He added that black people from his area “are disproportionately affected by a lot of things.”
The Democratic lawmaker was arrested in November for leading an anti-Black Friday protest meant to “shut down” a local mall. A month before that, Franks was among more than 140 protesters who blocked a local highway as part of a protest against police violence.
Franks rapped about shooting “snitches” and dismembering murder victims during his previous rap career.
Franks himself has not commented directly on the incident, but on his Twitter feed, he has retweeted a number of people congratulating him on his protest.