Last week Eminem lead the “I hate Trump” rally at the BET Hip Hop Awards. Eminem had everyone talking on and offline about his verse in the cypher but the underlying topic was Eminem’s whiteness and now everyone is uncomfortable about theinterview Waka Flocka did on Sway in the Morning on Shade45.Does it really matter if you’re Black or white in regards to Hip Hop? What role does ethnicity play within Hip Hop Culture? For one, it does matter if you’re Black or white and ethnicity plays a huge role within the culture. Think about how much we complain about our history being erased and having the youth learn about a watered down version of the history of Africa. For the sake of this piece I want you all to understand that the original man and woman came from Africa. For the sake of this piece I am going reach out and say that Native Americans were the first Africans to reach this land and simply decided to stay. We all know that the Caribbean Islands were where Africans were taken by British, Spanish, French, and probably other countries to be culturally assimilated into the life of a slave as we know it. So Waka Flocka you can call yourself Pan-African if you want because in1682Virginia passed two acts combining “negroes as other slaves”.
Eminem’s whiteness and privilege affords him a lot of opportunities that those of African descent cannot and in some spaces won’t get even in spaces where we should be getting the bigger platform i.e. a BET cypher. We praise Eminem for a cypher verse dissing Trump but why isn’t YG’s F.D.T. gold let alone platinum? YG deleted a tweet he posted the afternoon after the awards aired wondering why no one gave him and Nipsey as much support as they were giving Em which is a valid question. Slavery in North America was different than in other countries as it included a mental breakdown that still has effects on those whose families were raised in this country. So when a white man shows us love on a Black stage we praise him because “he doesn’t have to do that” but we don’t praise each other because “that’s what we expect him to say”. Remember that Eminem sent in a video because he wasn’t physically at the BET Hip Hop Awards. Had Em made an appearance at the MTV Music Video Awards last month I’m sure they would have given him the same platform and he would have reached the people that needed to hear the message because I can almost guarantee you that there were little to no Trump supporters attending the BET Hip Hop Awards.
Ethnicity plays a tricky role in our race to success. Hip Hop Culture is constantly appropriated and monetized by people who’ll be dead in 100 years. How long did it take to assimilate an African in the 17th century? How long will it take white Americans to completely erase the Black artists from the culture? How long did it take for them to take over Jazz? Rock N’ Roll? They are writing our history books so Eminem could replace Biggie Smalls once we’re dead. Macklemore could replace Tupac once we’re dead. Iggy Azalea could replace Lauryn Hill and Mac Miller could replace Talib Kweli. They have their players ready to take their position in their version of Hip Hop history. How many times has the bible been rewritten? The race to maintain the integrity and the culture is real Hip Hop Heads. That’s why we have to do everything in-house instead of hiring “3rd parties” because we think they’ll do a better job than the one who needs it the most. We’re either going to win and beat our opponent in the Hip Hop race or we’re going to lose by beating ourselves.
“If you do not hear me, then you will be history.” –Kendrick Lamar (Swimming Pools)