Samaria Rice addresses those ‘hustling Black death’ for profit

 “All of the families should be getting therapy, and all of them should be getting the tools to speak for themselves, not have people speak for them,” said Rice. 

Samaria Rice, who is the mother of slain 12-year-old Tamir Rice, is continuing to detail the experience of having her son’s death instantly politicized and her critiques of prominent activists in the Black Lives Matter movement.

In a recent interview with The Cut, Rice spoke more about her grievances with charismatic leaders and the work she continues to do while grieving her son who was killed by Cleveland police in 2014. 

Samaria Rice
Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice- who was shot to death by a police officer – speak on a panel titled “The Impact of Police Brutality – The Victims Speak” at the National Action Network (NAN) national convention on April 8, 2015 in New York City. Reverend Al Sharpton founded NAN in 1991 (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

“All of the families should be getting therapy, and all of them should be getting the tools to speak for themselves, not have people speak for them,” said Rice. 

As theGrio previously reported back in March, Rice called out activist and author Tamika Mallory after she appeared at the Grammy Awards with the Atlanta rapper Lil Baby. Rice accused the activist of “monopolizing” the fight for racial justice after Mallory performed a poem discussing Black oppression and police brutality. 

Read More: Samaria Rice on Tamika Mallory dispute: ‘I didn’t have to call you out your name’

Following the posts Rice published on her social media account, she and another unnamed mother whose child was killed by police issued a statement saying that “Families of those who are killed by the police — and whose loved ones’ deaths spark mass movements — continue to navigate political misrepresentation, battle zones of police repression, homelessness, and poverty, while Black “leadership” that has not been selected by the masses flourishes through celebrity status.” 

Samaria Rice
Samaria Rice (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Rice has called for an end to what she describes as a celebrity activism culture that allows public figures to “hustle black death.” Examples she mentions are the usage of her son Tamir Rice’s name and likeness by the Black Lives Matter organization and funds raised by journalist Shaun King who she says sent her a $60K check but she never spoke to in her life. 

Rice adds that prominent leaders in the movement could in her view, improve by showing “the community that they are working and not just talking … you got these corporate people listening to you like you doing the work, and you not doing the work if you not in these streets.”

Read More: Tamir Rice’s family pens letter to DOJ pleading to reopen case

King, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, and Mallory have responded to criticism from Rice and others. Rice, who is the founder of the Tamir Rice Foundation and Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center, says she is focused on getting her son’s case reopened and securing a legacy for her children. 

“I’m just trying to build up the legacy of the Rices,” said Rice.  “It’s important that they know I haven’t given up. I can’t give up. I have three kids looking at me. I got grandbabies depending on me. Ain’t no giving up to me.” 

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This article contains additional reporting from theGrio’s DeMicia Inman, Keydra Manns, Stephanie Guerilus and Blue Telusma.