Are Y’all Really Surprised Jay-Z Don’t Give A DAMN About Your Broke-Asses?!

“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 backfor 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

When Lincoln Anthony Blades is not writing for his controversial and critically acclaimed blog ThisIsYourConscience.com, he can be found contributing articles for Uptown Magazine. Lincoln wrote the hilarious and insightful book "You're Not A Victim, You're A Volunteer: How To Stop Letting Love Kick Your Ass". He is also a public speaker who has sat on panels all over North America and the Caribbean.

28 Comments

  1. lincolnanthonyblades

    09/11/2012 at 6:46 AM

    Ladies & Gentlemen, What Are Your Thoughts ON Jay's Comments? Does He Have A Point About The Occupy Movement, Or Do You Support Russell Simmons Views?

    • GrandCentral

      09/11/2012 at 11:38 AM

      I am going to go with Russell here, because even though the movement wasn't clearly defined, it didn't matter. Jay-Z should have supported it. Russell is beyond right in his statement. I see what he is saying in every facet of life. We need to quickly reverse that trend and Jay-Z has a moral responsibility to aide in doing that. What the top 1% fails to understand, is that they are where they are because someone supports their business. If they had no support or customers there would be no business for them. This may be a long way off, but if they continue on the path they are on, they will have no supporters or customers left. Then what will they do.

      It's the same nonsense with supporting the outsourcing of jobs and tax cuts for the wealthy. Its an oxymoron.

      • lincolnanthonyblades

        09/12/2012 at 3:45 AM

        I wish more people understood that the majority of wealth in the US is inherited, not created by free enterprise.

  2. LINDA

    09/11/2012 at 7:00 AM

    To whom much is given much is expected. Jay-Z (and Kanye) are both Judas goats. His wealth will continue to be fed lavishly by those interests that despise our community because for a select few money DOES grow on trees. It ain't a big thing to toss him a few mil. Unfortunately he doesn't realize that indifference to the suffering of a people comes at a great cost and with a new baby he really needs to start rethinking his political viewpoints. Harry Belafonte, our esteemed elder, said it better a few weeks ago. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/10/harry-be

  3. mena

    09/11/2012 at 7:31 AM

    I really want to go harder on this post but don't have the time right now. All I can say is that I agree with Jay-Z. Everyone, from the politicians, to Wall St., to the people who bought homes that they knew they couldn't afford are to be blamed for our economic times. Ignorance isn't always bliss.

    And if Mitt would have said the exact thing that Jay said, I would have agreed with him as well. My only problem is when those who have done well for themselves don't recognize those who helped them come up. And by help, I don't mean the people who bought your product, I mean those people who gave you your first break in the recording studio, or those who taught you how to invest your money.

    Also, the entire west is the 1% and for any of us to think that we aren't is just BS.

    • GrandCentral

      09/11/2012 at 11:33 AM

      I have to respectfully disagree with a portion of your statement. On the housing crisis your statement of "the people who bought homes that they knew they couldn't afford" is a bit unfair. Those home buyers should not be included in blame for the crisis. These home buyers were not victims of ignorance, they were victims of greed and inaccurate information.

      • mena

        09/11/2012 at 11:55 AM

        They were victims of their own greed. Everyone is to blame for this and not including those who bought homes they knew they couldnt afford is ridiculous.

        And yes, i am a homeowner and have been one for 3 years.

        • GrandCentral

          09/11/2012 at 12:25 PM

          Do you truly believe that these buyers knew they couldn't afford the homes they purchased, but did it anyway? I think you are being a bit harsh by accusing these people of being greedy. Those home owners put their trust into loan officers who showed them they could afford a home with bad math. The bank told the woman making $40k (approx $2800 per month) that she could afford the $400K home because they used their bad math and junk mortgage products to give her an $800 per month mortgage. The bank was greedy, not the home buyer.

          Also, don't forget that African-Americans were disproportionately targeted by the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Many cases involved borrowers who could have afforded a home through the conventional method of 20% and a home price in scale with their income. However, a greedy banker got involved and changed their course.

          • mena

            09/11/2012 at 1:09 PM

            Yes. I honestly believe that many people bought homes they couldn't afford knowing that they couldn't afford them.

            I just don't have a bleeding heart for many of the people involved in the financial crisis. That goes from wall street to main street.

          • GrandCentral

            09/11/2012 at 2:41 PM

            I am not asking you to have a bleeding heart. I am asking you to see the depth of the problem and appropriately lie blame. You could have easily purchased your home earlier and fallen prey to the crisis. The sub-prime mortgage crisis goes deeper than the 30-year balloons that are visible to us. The bundling of those assets trickle all the way down to the interest rate you get on your savings account. Good people who wanted to build wealth (home ownership was touted as a means to do that prior to 08) and be a part of the American Dream, got screwed. Those people are still suffering today. The people that you believe were not greedy and purchased homes that they could afford, are suffering as well. The values of their homes have plummeted and their property taxes have gone up. The ramifications of this crisis will plague all of us for years to come.

            I am not a home owner. Fortunately and unfortunately, I am a renter and will probably be a renter for quit sometime. However, even as a renter the sub-prime mortgage crisis is plaguing me. In New York City rent has sky rocketed. Since the crisis, foreclosures forced owners back into the renters pool, and because of the entire debacle most New Yorker's are not buying and the increase demand for rentals is driving prices up. So everyone is affected by the crisis.

          • mena

            09/11/2012 at 5:22 PM

            I actually find this entire conversation to be quite humorous. I stated first that I blame EVERYONE. From the politicians (Clinton who deregulated the banks) to Wall St. (them being greedy for more money) and the people on Main St. (those who lived outside of their means). The fact that we are having a disagreement about this completely and utterly baffles me.

            EVERYONE is to blame for this problem. Some more than others but the bottom line is that WE ALL played a part in where our economy is today.

        • J.Crawford

          09/11/2012 at 2:05 PM

          Okay, so you bought your home AFTER the Economic/Housing Crisis. You bought your home while the Value IS/WAS Low, not the $100,000s of dollars it Used to Be or Would Have Been…..I'm not belittle all the savings, work and sacrifices YOU made to become a Homeowner, but Don't sit/stand here and say that the people who had and are currently having their homes foreclosed on are Guilty of Greed. They wanted to achieve the piece of the American Dream you have Right Now, but they got Screwed by Big Banks, Self-Centered Mortgage Lenders, and Politicians who are paid for and looking out for Corporations, whose CEOs and Presidents get millions of dollars in Bonuses- not Salaries, BONUSES- while the Workers below havent had a decent salary, raise, or promotion in Years, even Decades

          Your statement is Disengenuous and the kind of garbage that Occupy and everyone Not in the 1% are combating.

          • mena

            09/11/2012 at 5:36 PM

            Please read my comment above and then this: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/articl

            And this: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748704

            I am confused at why you are so upset with what I wrote when i stated that everyone is to blame. Do you not believe this?

          • GrandCentral

            09/11/2012 at 9:54 PM

            Thank you for providing these articles, now I have a better understanding of why you made your original statement and carry the thoughts you do.

            At this point you and I are just going to have to respectfully agree to disagree, but I need to point of a few things. The first article you referenced is not referring to sub-prime loans when it cites American Consumers in its list of 25 people to blame for the crisis. They are actually referencing home equity loans and the various financial products that were tied to the equity of home and/or property. Now, I can some what understand if someone labels these borrowers as "keeping up with the Jones" borrowers. However, due to our nations financial climate during the height of that form of consumer borrowing, I personally can't agree with Time's assessment, nor can I label these borrowers as greedy. Just concentrating on Home Equity Loans (not delving into the numerous other products), no one truly foresaw the housing market taking such a drastic turn so quickly. The housing market goes up and down and history has shown that it corrects itself, but property values had not plummeted at such a rapid rate, probably since the great depression. You can't even compare the downturns of the early 2000's, early 90's or mid 80's, to what we saw in 07/08 with the housing market. I say this to point out that this form of borrowing was viewed by consumers as return on investment borrowing. I can't remember the numbers off hand, but I want to say that a large percentage of home equity loans were probably $50K plus. To accumulate that type of equity for borrowing means that you probably purchased your home under the old 20% none PMI guidelines. Sounds like an American Dream pursuer to me.

            The second article, I strongly disagree with. Had an agency like the CPFB existed, the crisis would not had been so drastic. The CPFB in its current form is literally scaring the shit out of companies, especially the financial firms. This alone, along with the associated penalties would have scared anyone straight. Borrowers were not being ignorant, they were truly fed bad intel. Also, this WSJ article was written in 2010 when the full story was yet to be told or understood about the depths of the entire financial crisis.

          • mena

            09/11/2012 at 11:00 PM

            But my entire point was that we are all to blame for the financial crisis. Everything is tied together. This is why I was shocked that we would disagree in the first place. Maybe you and I are simply talking over each other.

            The deregulation of the banks, the ease of receiving credit, politicians caring more about special interests than their constituents, others caring more about material things (greed)…it's all lumped together.

          • GrandCentral

            09/11/2012 at 11:18 PM

            We disagree because you include home buyers (sub-prime mortgage borrowers) in the blame and don't consider them to be victims. I don't believe that we are all to blame. You are correct everything is tied together, but it's all against the American consumer. Not a single person purchased a home that they KNEW they couldn't afford. Greater powers want us to believe that, but its simply not true. Jay-Z was wrong and his comments were irresponsible. That's my take. We live to debate another day :)

          • mena

            09/11/2012 at 5:40 PM

            Also, did I say that people having their homes foreclosed on are guilty of greed or did I say that there were many who bought homes that they couldn't afford b/c they were greedy and simply wanted to live with the Jones's? Big difference.

  4. Smilez_920

    09/11/2012 at 8:11 AM

    Umm I never really saw Hov as any type of political, economic, social analysis. That's his opinion , fine I guess. He's not completely off with the first part of his comment. but I don't think people hate free enterprise, I just think ppl hate being taken advantage of , trick, bamboozled etc… We don't have a problem with folks getting rich, but if your business ventures, or politics effect my well being in a negative way , then that could cause an uproar.

    Im very happy that uncle Rus came through to play damage control. We also need to understand that Jay-z is a rapper and Mitt Romeny is trying to become president. So yes if Mitt Romeney said it ppl would be in a uproar or bothered because …. HE HAS THE CHANCE TO BECOME LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD. So while Jayz opinion will be debated on blogs and in the hip hop community, If elected Mitt ROmeny's opinion will more than likely have a direct effect on most ppls lives.

  5. AMG

    09/11/2012 at 9:48 AM

    Mitt Romney & Jay-z are one and the same. Whoever is going to be president is pre-determined and really and truly, we should be hating on them and their free enterprise. (Re Bush and the re-count.) If you don't have the right connect, you can't make those dollars. Not one of those people that make over a certain amount of money give a f*ck what you think. Money is the root of all evil and if you got that much, you the root. We all got to wake the f up. & stop thinking that just cause a rapper's nice wit it that he ain't f*cking evil. I can't 'support no one that calls themself God. Straight. Look beneath the surface. I'd love to write more, but can't right now.

  6. AMG

    09/11/2012 at 9:57 AM

    Re: Bush and the recount was meant to be inserted the line before.

  7. GrandCentral

    09/11/2012 at 11:27 AM

    Ok. I just spent the last few minutes reading the New York Times article in its entirety. Jay-Z needs to be very with his words. Though I don’t believe he said anything wrong, nor did he say anything that hasn't already been said. He is partially right and partially wrong on this one, so I am beginning to understand the outrage that people have about this interview.

    I was very critical of the Occupy Wall Street Movement at first because appeared to be somewhat of a joke and gimmick. The initial weekend (keyword weekend) that this movement began, the group made claim to something that wasn't really magnificent. They gathered on Wall Street on a Saturday. The Financial District is dead after 7pm on a week day, including Friday. If you work down there, you are lucky if you can find a meal after 7pm. We all knew this, so we didn't take them seriously when they claimed to "Occupy Wall Street." Then they decided to occupy Zuccotti Park in a very Woodstock esque manner. I went down there last October and covered the movement for my blog (http://bit.ly/OnEO49) and was hoping that I would leave with a better understanding of what exactly was happening. I spoke to three sound people who were willing to go on record, but I quickly discovered that the people with no vision or plan for the movement outnumbered those with a vision and clear definition of the movement. This is what Jay-Z was referring to.

    When everything first went down, a lot of celebrities went down there to show their support or sent food and beverages. I believe Russell Simmons was one of those people. Jay-z made t-shirts but if my memory serves me correctly however he never went down there or fully endorsed the movement. Russell really wanted him to get behind the movement or at least endorse it. I see what Jay-Z is saying, but I disagree with his attempt to make a separation between “good 1- percenters from bad 1 –percenters.” Making this distinction leads me to believe that he doesn’t understand who the people are that the movement was attempting to draw attention to. Yes, America was built on entrepreneurs, innovation and creative thinkers. However, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers were not your small run of the mill entrepreneur small business ventures. It wasn’t the bakery on the corner run by Mrs. Johnson who baked birthday cakes for all the kids in the neighborhood. That is where my issue lies with Jay-Z. Statements like that make me think that he is pretending to not understand the issues, or is he so far removed that he has just thrown in the towel and joined the bad crew? Russell probably saw it as I’ve explained and that’s why he rightfully got in that ass!

    Jay-Z needs to be very careful. He might want to stick to his day job of spitting bars and fall back on political issues. He doesn’t appear to fully comprehend what’s going on here. Also, he loves to talk about maturing and evolving, he needs to also understand that spitting bars or attempting to wax poetically can’t always be his method of communicating. I would like to see him move past relating everything to hip hop.

  8. Spizz

    09/11/2012 at 1:31 PM

    Hey you didn't show the second part of the Jay-Z quote
    That disturbed you.

  9. Xcavator

    09/13/2012 at 10:26 PM

    Lol at America being built on entrepreneurship. America was built on the slave trade.

  10. Infamous

    03/15/2013 at 2:54 PM

    It was all good, just a week ago

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