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Power Over the Platform

This week the Rap community gathered for the BET Hip Hop Awards that aired on Tuesday night. The cyphers are always the highlight and this year some young emcees got to shine. However there was one guy from Detroit that I almost didn’t recognize because of the facial hair, Eminem. I really didn’t know who he was until he started rhyming. In addition to an upcoming album Eminem used his platform and position to address the current administrationthat’s attempting to govern this country. I know A LOT of people in the Hip Hop community do not like the fact that BET gave Eminem, a white man, the platform and made him “the voice” of the community of a predominantly Black and Brown folks. More than just the administration Eminem addressed Donald Trump directly as well as the Trump supporters who listen to his musical poetry. Eminem used his power and platform to rap about something that is a hot topic in this country. I have been bumping F.D.T. since YG and Nipsey Hussle released the track but let’s be clear…Eminem is the only Rapper or Emcee that could address Trump in a Rap context and garner this much impact on behalf of the Hip Hop community. Why, because he’s one of them. Eminem’s real name is Marshall Mathers and he is a white man in a society dominated by his peers. Trump is NOT going to respond to Eminem!

Not Jay, not Nas, not Macklemore, not Pharrell, and not even Post Malone could have made the same impact because they lack either part of the equation. Jay and Nas have the platform but not the power. Macklemore and Post Malone have the power but not the platform. Pharrell has a little bit of both but not the complexion. Believe it or not some of Eminem’s fans listen to his music simply because he is white. They don’t listen to Jay, Nas, Lil Wayne, or Kanye because they’re not white. These Trump supporters listen to (or used to after that freestyle) Eminem, Riff Raff, Post Malone, Action Bronson, Iggy Azalea, and any other white Rapper they can find. This is why it is important for us to document our culture’s history because once we’re dead and gone history can be rewritten but I digress. Some people needed to hear Eminem speak out including us Black and Brown folks. We needed to know that the white guy we put on a lyrical pedestal is supportive of our needs and concerns for our communities. The same communities where he became immersed into our Hip Hop Culture.

Eminem’s album will most definitely continue the narrative he started with the freestyle. Eminem is still the same anti-pop Rapper who will let us know what trends he is and isn’t feeling. If Kim Kardashian wasn’t married to Kanye West I’m sure he’d go after her and her family also (Maybe some of us will still get our wish). Eminem is a top tier emcee and I’m sure this freestyle has moved him up or down on your personal list depending on your political views. The issues that Eminem addressed are very real and are still echoing around the world. I’m sure Trump heard or watched the freestyle if none of his constituents haven’t told him about it. While everyone watches Trump’s Twitter account for any response or backlash we need to be getting ready for November elections and ways we can lessen our dependence on the government. In order to make any type of change in this country you have to have power over the platform. Jay Z, Beyoncé, Drake, Rihanna, Eminem, and others that have power over their platform need to use it if they have not done so already and simply be the change they want to see in the world.

“Some people only see that I’m white, ignorin’ skill.” –Eminem (Role Model)