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Hip hop legend performing in Richmond urges calm after Michael Brown protests

Posted at 6:28 PM, Aug 24, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-24 19:10:38-04

RICHMOND, Va -- Building a music career out of controversial subjects is second nature to Cheryl James, better known as "Salt" of the iconic 80s hip hop group Salt-N-Pepa.

The music legend, who was in Richmond to perform at a concert benefiting crime prevention, spoke out about the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri after the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

"I can't imagine what that feels like. If I even think about it, I could cry,” James told CBS 6 reporter Sandra Jones.

James shared a moment of silence to remember Michael Brown during her Brown's Island concert.

"Most people are there to get answers to get justice and to exercise their right -- their Constitutional right to protest. And I feel like our freedoms are slowly being taken away from us,” said James.

The hip hop artist and mother of a 15-year-old son said she can relate to the pain Brown's family is feeling.

"I just pray that there's a conclusion [and] that we can come together as Americans.  The police officers as well, the people in the community... that they have some real solutions. Because I'm not seeing that getting any better,” said James.

She  feels that the public should keep as calm as possible to ease the tension.

"I understand the anger and hostility. I'm angry, but I just feel like if we can just stay calm.  Everybody just needs to stay calm and continue to exercise your right to get answers as well as to protest peacefully,” said James.

"The public needs to show compassion for the family who had to bury their son. We don’t need any negativity around this situation,” said James.

Proceeds from the “80s Were the Greatest” concert will go towards crime prevention programs in Richmond.