“I got the Forbes on my living room floor
And I’m still talking to the poor, nigga I want more
TIME’s most influential, was impressive
‘Specially since I wasn’t in the artist section
Had me with the builders and the titans
Had me right with Rupert Murdoch
Billionaire boys and some dudes you never heard of
Word up on Madison Ave is I’m a cash cow
Word down on Wall Street, homie, you get the cash out
IPO Hov, no need for reverse merger
The boy money talk no need to converse further”
“Grammy Family Freestyle” – Jay-Z
Every now and then I make a point of stating on this blog how important it is for me to differentiate artists on-stage characters from their real life personas as a method of still respecting their art, even when I don’t really advocate their BS personal-stances. Well, that is VERY true of one Jay-Z, a.k.a Shawn Carter, who recently made some horribly ridiculous comments in an interview with the New York Times in regards to the Occupy Wall Street movement. He stated:
“I think all those things need to really declare themselves a bit more clearly. Because when you just say that ‘the 1 percent is that,’ that’s not true. Yeah, the 1 percent that’s robbing people, and deceiving people, these fixed mortgages and all these things, and then taking their home away from them, that’s criminal, that’s bad. Not being an entrepreneur. This is free enterprise. This is what America is built on.”
Now, I have no problem with the beginning of his quote, because stating that the Occupy movement needed a MUCH clearer narrative is a fair and valid criticism of the entire movement that has been made by many people, supporters and detractors alike. But the coded language in the second half of his quote is EXTREMELY troubling, if for no other reason than the fact that he SHOULD be very much in tune with BOTH communities and their struggles. But, I’ve known for a MINUTE that Shawn Carter doesn’t give a DAMN about our broke-asses, and Jay-Z only cares when he can make a buck off of us, but if you are reading this and desperately searching for a defence of this dude, just GIVE IT UP. He doesn’t give a RATS ASS about the struggle we are going through.
Now I’m NOT slamming him because I think he needs to be more moral, I am disappointed because he’s suppose to be one of the most accessible examples of someone who has encountered BOTH extremes, from the poverty of the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn to his palatial estates around the globe. Once again, I don’t knock him for getting up out the hood and never looking back – but the problem is that he REACHES back – for sympathetic MONEY. So my question becomes, at what point can we call hypocrisy? This isn’t even about Jay-Z and the hood – this is about a 100-millionaire and everyone who’s NOT at that point.
And yes, Jay-Z DOES go after SYMPATHETIC money [playing on the Marcy angle whenever he can] so PLEASE don’t give me any BS about he’s just a simple musician who is supported by his old neighbourhood whether he likes it or not.
But what I find funny about his statements is how we perceive different quotes from different people, because if Mitt Romney had said that Occupy Wall-Street needs to stop “hating” on “free enterprise” y’all negroes would’ve lost your damn minds. Why? Because the obvious coded language is that “poor people need to stop hating on rich people who decided to get off their asses and make something of themselves instead of being lazy-bastards like you all currently are.”
Thank GOD for Russell Simmons retort to Jay-Z’s quote, in which he wrote in an open letter:
“So, Jay, here’s the deal. You’re rich and I’m rich. But, today it’s close to impossible to be you or me and get out of Marcy Projects or Hollis, Queens without changing our government to have our politicians work for the people who elect them and not the special interests and corporations that pay them. Because we know that these special interests are nothing special at all. In fact, they spend millions of dollars destroying the fabric of the black community and make billions of dollars in return.”
And that’s the point in a nutshell. Jay-Z thrived at a time that is DEAD & GONE – and if he doesn’t see the precipitous nature of the unstable economic condition we are currently in, it’s not because he’s simply unaware – it’s because he simply doesn’t care.
This Is Your Conscience