Watch Ryan Coogler and J. Cole’s Full Martin Luther King Jr. Day Conversation

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On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed, the forthcoming Black Panther) sat down with J. Cole in Harlem for an honest conversation about race and the economic future of the black community during an #MLKNOW event that also featured appearances from Michael B. Jordan, Chris Rock and more.

The chat, which lasted just over 20 minutes, also accidentally revealed that Cole married his longtime girlfriend Melissa Holt, but focused mainly on Cole’s insights on how he thinks black people can obtain better control over their socioeconomic prognoses, and galvanize the concepts of the institutionalized injustices that have made conversations on race such a tense affair in America.


There’s a level of self-reflection and honesty that we gotta have. Instead of marching on Washington, we gotta march on the hood and try to wake each other up. If we don’t find a way to truly love ourselves first and wipe out that lack of self-worth that’s been established, then economic power can never truly happen,” said Cole, after Anika Rose delivered a stirring performance of J. Cole’s “Be Free,” best remembered from his iconic appearance on David Letterman’s The Late Show.

After a week of phone footage and excerpts, thanks to Montreality, we now have footage of the entire conversation.