What’s going on people?! Good to have you back riding with me again. This week, for a change, there’s no list, there’s no best of’s, or anything like that. This week, the Hip Hop community, and the Black community as a whole, took a damaging and embarrassing look at the times we’re in when we saw the debacle that was the Lil’ Wayne interview from Nightline a couple of nights ago.
In an age where this country has seen its most blatant and pronounced racism in many decades, Dewayne Michael Carter set us back many years with the amount of shocking, yet unfortunately not surprising, ignorance he displayed. The interviewer questioned him about the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and he didn’t even know what the movement was or what it was about. He proceeded to state that he didn’t relate to it and isn’t connected to it. Further proclaiming “his life mattered, especially to his bitches”.
The suffering continued as he started to verbally go towards the interviewer, as seemingly he started getting rattled by the whole questioning of #BlackLivesMatter, then proceeds to pull out his red bandana, indicating his Blood gang ties, even referring to himself as a “gangbanger”. Appalling as this scene was, he ended the interview unapologetic, still more focused on his riches and his “bitches” and not the concerns and needs of his own community.
Being a media professional for the last twelve years, I realize there could be the possibility that the interview was edited for content so there’s always that chance that there’s more than what we saw, especially considering the fact that he’s an educated guy who obtained his B.A. in Psychology. However, it behooves many that as a young Black man in AmeriKKKa (no I’m not changing this lettering), he seems very oblivious to anything socially relevant, as long as he continues to increase his net worth, which last year was totaled at $150 million. He apologized the next day, stating the interviewer had highly irritated him by asking him if he would find offense if someone labels his daughter, Reginae, as a “b****” or Ho”, like he refers to women in his lyrics and he didn’t give any thought into anything else the interviewer asked. Seriously, folks, that’s the answer and excuse he gave.
This, in tow, brings another point up. Last year, I wrote a somewhat controversial piece regarding the disconnect between today’s Hip Hop and the nineties, which was more about the millennial and the older generations. One thing I pointed out was the lack of respect, not just in Hip Hop but within the Black community period. We all remember the harrowing incident involving Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Virtually the entire Black America was outraged, shocked, and disbelief over the cold-blooded nature of the shooting of an unarmed Black kid.
When rapper Young Thug was asked about the protests and marches that came as a result, he stated that he didn’t have anything to do with that. He just wanted to get his riches and stay “Iced out”. This, people, is the problem and then some. While this obviously doesn’t apply to all our young Black kids and adults, there are those who absolutely make us look terrible, especially when presented across an already biased media. He and Wayne aren’t the only ones in the Hip Hop industry that mirror this ridiculously offensive mind state.
While people like Jeezy and Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder have come to the aid of Wayne, stating that he’s misunderstood or that he’s an entertainer only, how many more excuses are we going to have to stomach?This is deeper than artists like Vince Staples, Lil’ Yachty or Lil’ Uzi Vert claiming old school Hip Hop is irrelevant or boring, this has to do with some of these same young cats and artists like Wayne that idolize their riches and fame more than the plaguing problems within our community.
What’s interesting and even more polarizing about him is the fact that he doesn’t even feel racism in AmeriKKKa exists. When he was very young, he was shot and was practically left for dead. It turns out it was a White cop that saved his life when a Black cop apparently did little to nothing. On top of this startling fact, he has a ton of White followers, a LOT. So it’s obvious to him that in his world there’s no racism, as he doesn’t experience it or has had no defining racist moment.
I grew up in a Catholic school institution, and it was 90% White. While I didn’t experience a whole grandeur of racism, please believe I wasn’t immune to it either, as I would get classic stereotypes and very racially insensitive jokes pointed in my direction or some of the other few Black kids. I’ve also been stopped, taken out of my car, and been physically and verbally harassed by cops before. If Wayne has never had his racist moment, please be assured, he will at some point. Then, and only then perhaps, will his viewpoint change, maybe.
In the meantime, we as a Black community can not continue to just sit back and allow these entertainers or the like just rest on their own pedestals (although most of which we have created for them) and not hold them accountable for their passive and nonchalant attitudes towards crucial stuff going on within our community. In the most damning election period we’ve come across in quite a few generations, there already is a lose-lose situation going on with Clinton and Trump. The last thing we need is for us to perpetuate the image that has already been made out for us by racist, condemning, hate-fueled bigoted people.
The excuse, “They’re just entertainers” and “What do you expect from people that make the kind of music they make” is a very piss poor cop out and needs to be reexamined. Earlier this year, former Geto Boy Willie D put out a scathing dis cut towards Don lemon, Charles Barkley, and others called “Coon”. Several weeks ago, he delivered the equally potent follow-up “Coon II”, which targeted Steve Harvey and Michael Jordan. Chances are, he’ll release “Coon III”, and one has to believe that Dewayne Carter will be on that list. If he’s not on Willie’s list, he’s definitely on mine.
That’s all for now folks, but while we are on the awareness of the Black community during these times, the legendary Common drops his eleventh album, Black America Again, on November 4th, and based upon the early leaks of the album, this could be the most defining album of his career since his landmark album of 2005, BE. Peep the INCREDIBLE title track featuring vocals from the iconic Stevie Wonder and bass by Esperanza Spaulding.
Until next time, fists up, and DON’T FORGET TO VOTE.