Kanye West doesn’t read. Neither does Kendrick, or Chance the Rapper, or [insert the name of most male rappers who make statements not knowing what the fuck they are talking about].
Mr. West was once known as a “genius” in our community (though not by all of us chile…). The man who notoriously went on TV and declared that “George Bush doesn’t care about Black People” (which was correct to be fair). The man who famously went on TV and grabbed the mic from Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs and said: “Imma let you finish but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time”(which he was also correct about). But like the old saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Since that time, Mr. West has become a MAGA hat-wearing, ignorant tweeting shell of what many thought he was—most recently stating that “Slavery was a choice” and asking for the abolishment of the 13th amendment. You know, the amendment that abolished Slavery, which is weird because if you know that slavery had to be ABOLISHED than how could it have also been a choice? Then again, WHEN YOU DON’T FUCKING READ you can end up in this contradictory state of foolishness.
Now I wouldn’t have so much of a problem if Koonye was making these statements and people were able to see past the hotep logic and pay it no mind. However, the legions of followers who have went on defense about how Slavery was actually a choice leaves me no choice but to actually write my thoughts out on the danger of placing leadership titles on rappers who clearly don’t have the range. Oh, and that minstrel show of a press conference he did yesterday with that Orange man was foolishness at its finest.
Rap music has always been a part of pushing the culture forward and informing the world about the many atrocities faced by particular segments of the Black community. Rappers have had the ability to make those less informed about what is happening in society become more aware in brilliant ways. People who may never tune in to the news, or even notice what is happening around them in the world are easily more informed by rappers and their music than community leaders and grassroots activists preaching many of the same themes and topics.
So, let’s make it abundantly clear. SLAVERY WAS NOT A FUCKING CHOICE. Not reading and knowing what the fuck you are talking about is, though. The education system is a set up for us in this community. Textbooks are written through a gaze that centers whiteness, removing many crucial elements including the facts about what actually happened.
For Black folks, and Queer folks, and those of us who are both, there is a lot of unlearning that must happen outside the classroom to understand who we truly are and what we encompass. Rappers are often prone to being misogynistic and homophobic, a pattern that has had dangerous consequences for many of us.
The old saying goes, “If you want to hide something from a Black person, put it in a book.” Unfortunately, this generation of rappers who claim to be speaking truth on a community they have clearly not read up on continue to make this quote pretty damn truthful. There is no way you can understand the plight of Black people in this country and think that any of our oppression was by choice. Furthermore, the continued attacks with the use of homophobia and misogyny is just late and tired.
These same rappers who wear queer brands, get their faces beat and styled by queer folks continue to participate in cognitive dissonance for a few snaps in agreement with their homophobic hotep bases. They constantly go on these rants about how pro-Black they are only to disrespect Black people they feel don’t meet their standard of acceptable Blackness. This must end.
There are too many ways to access Beyoncé’s internet for these men to not know of what they are speaking. There are too many search engines on Al Gore’s internet for them not to google some questions before spouting out dangerous rhetoric. We have lived in an era where rappers are heralded as social consciousness leaders. Any social consciousness that doesn’t have the requirement of reading is dead on sight. It’s just a projection of patriarchy, masculinity, and an undying desire to be like our white counterparts.
Levar Burton walked so that you could read. In all seriousness, times are too dangerous for us to play around with the enemy using alternative facts and ahistorical statements to prop up whiteness while disparaging parts of the Black community. So, take a look. It’s in a book. Read, y’all.
(special mention to M.B. Jordan who didn’t know we had Black folklore and mythology. READ, y’all. READDDDD!)