Stop Blaming Lil Wayne and Start Blaming Yourself

By now we have all heard snippets of the ridiculous interview on Nightline by legendary rapper Lil Wayne. In his most recent attempt at discussing race relations, he maintains the same confusion and ignorance to the plight that many of his supporters who have followed his career for the entire 25 years endure on the daily basis. Once again, he insists that because he performs to a mixed audience of varying backgrounds, ethnicities, and classes and that those who work to show him in the greatest light to his fans are white that it must be understood that black lives matter. “I am a young black rich motherfucker! If that doesn’t tell you that black lives matter than I don’t know what does.”

Black Lives Matter (BLM) has been a hot button topic for celebrities in America as the very title of the movement forces people to address the reality that many African Americans feel targeted by an oppressive police system that oftentimes is quicker to shoot than to apprehend. BLM has come under fire for its focus on Black Lives instead of All Lives sparking the All Lives Matter counter-movement to move the topic from talking specifically about black lives to broadening the conversation to all people. BLM has tripped many entertainers, leaders, and celebrities including Don King, Ray Lewis, Stacy Dash, Shaquille O’Neal, and the list continues to grow almost daily.

This is not the first time Lil Wayne has ben trapped by the Black Lives Matter question and consequentially offending the ears of his many black supporters and fans. On the Fox Sports News Show Undisputed with Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe with moderator Joy Taylor, Lil Wayne showed an uneasiness to say that racism existed before saying that “he thought that there was no such thing as racism”, downplayed the significance of Colin Kaepernick’s American Flag protest, and stated that he himself has never experienced racism.  Lil Wayne, despite being from Louisiana, a city that was victim to the greatest neglect in American history, completely devastated by Hurricane Katrina and the subject of Lil Wayne’s song Tie My Hands on his classic Carter III, and sparking the notorious Kanye West outburst on national TV “George Bush don’t care about black people”, seems to have forgotten the impacts of institution racism and it’s impacts on the black community which was the fuel to the art that he performs. But you shouldn’t be mad at him; you should be mad at yourself.

Hip Hop was born as an art form that challenged the status quote and most importantly, it was uniquely black. It was something that we could call ours and set the rules and guidelines for. Who had the greatest swag? Who had the freshest style? Who had the best delivery? Who had the best stories?  This new funky art form was a reflection of the people and rooted in the entertainment, rhythmic beat, and cool lyrics was education and unity. Our earliest rappers were more than rappers. They were historians, rebels, revolutionaries, hood politicians, journalists, and community advocates.  These storytellers were the heartbeat of a growing culture of people looking to create something unique, new, fresh, and black.

Like all things, hip hop evolved overtime but even in evolution the remnants of what hip hop is was still there. Rappers evolved and new styles were created as hip hop/rap moved from the gritty New York streets to the West Coast and the South and the Midwest. Rappers like Q-Tip, N.W.A, Tupac, Ice Cube, Common Sense (Common), Jay-Z, Nas, Afrika Bambaataa, KRS One and BDP, Rahkim, Mos Def (to name a few) but they still remained true to educating the people. Even Lil Wayne has had many songs that educated and advocated for the disenfranchised, but as time goes on, we have allowed our musicians and entertainers to stray the path.

All art is a reflection of the community from which its artist come. They showcase the reality of the community from the perspective of the artist. But the artist is a civil servant who delivers their performance to the people . It is the people who judge the artist. But around 2005, we have become lax in our requirements of our artists. It is the job of the people to direct, guide, and reject those artist who misrepresent the people. The greatest example of this is what some have called “Mumble Rap”. Mumble Rap is a name for the subgenre of rap in which rappers stress the melodies of their voice more than lyrical content and message. Rappers like Lil Yachty have become the poster boys for this form of rap showing little appreciation and connection to rap’s original roots pre-Tupac and Biggie in ’95 and ’96.

Today’s rap has lost much of what it once offered for a good beat and a melodic tone. Wale stated in a Breakfast Club interview that rappers were once the drug dealers if you think of the era in which Nas and Jay-Z came to now becoming the drug user with rappers like Future and Lil Wayne glorifying drug use. Again, this is also not their fault.

Today’s rappers have been granted greater access to larger audiences without having to prove themselves in the more traditional sense. Where rappers once had to prove themselves lyrically as well as through showmanship, with an upload of a video to YouTube or song to Soundcloud, rappers no longer have to woo the listening public. Instead they can directly deliver their music to those people who listen to it. With the advances in technology and the transformation of the music industry, rappers do not have to claim a particular community or be responsible to voicing the concerns of the people they represent. Instead they can connect with their fans via the internet, produce and master their own music, upload mixtapes to DatPiff, book their own shows, and build their brand without having to speak on any social issues.

Lil Wayne is not the first black  rapper to say something ignorant and contrary to common sense. In fact we can argue that he is not even close to the first black entertainer to sell his people up the river. Check out the interview with Young Thug. Listen to Floyd Mayweather’s comments on Colin Kaepernick’s protest and the Black Lives Matter Movement. Find any episode of Fox News where Stacy Dash was asked to contribute. Watch Raven Simone on the View talk about “Watermelondria”. Listen to Don King support Donald Trump. But we shouldn’t be mad at these celebrities. We support these celebrities. We buy tickets to their shows and buy their merchandise. We apologize for their statements and excuse their behavior. We have lowered our standards and deemed their behavior and irresponsibility acceptable. And now the chickens have come home to roost.

When Lil Wayne walked out he said, “I’m not a politician!” He is not a politician and it is not fair to question him as a person who has a reasonable understanding of the political adversities that impact our culture; however, as a celebrity with influence he should voluntarily take some responsibility in representing his community. Unfortunately, many do not.

If you want to show your disgust with Lil Wayne’s comments, don’t be upset; stop supporting him. Raven Simone, Ray Lewis, Shaq, Michael Jordan, Young Thug, and any other entertainer, celebrity, businessman/woman, rapper, singer, actor, guru, whatever, whoever. If these people don’t respect your cause and respect your struggle by giving it its due acknowledgement, then do not support them. Instead go support those who do. T.I has seemingly been an amazing champion for the black struggle and BLM. He has challenged Mayweather and come out supporting Bernie Sanders for president. Killer Mike campaigned with Bernie Sanders and had an amazing interview with Angie Martinez expressing his exhaustion with the 2016 Election. Go support the Kendrick Lamars and J. Coles, Nas, Mos Def, Wale, Colin Kaepernick, Jessie Williams. Throw your support behind those who support you. Praise their consciousness and withhold that support from the detractors until they come around. And if they never do, that’s okay too.

 

D’Marco

 

FOLLOW ME ON:

Twitter/Instagram: @dansari24

Twitter: @TheMK_project

 

 

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