Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) in 2014 in an effort to bridge the opportunity gaps facing boys and men of color. Last month he spoke at an event honoring their 5th anniversary. In his speech he made some remarks that could be interpreted as a diss on the hip hop community.
I’m not going to get into the specifics. I want you to see and judge for yourself. But isn’t this the same man who invited hip hop artists to the White House to perform ? I could have sworn this was the same man who claimed to have Kendrick Lamar on his playlist. He and the first lady have been seen cozied up with Jay-Z and Beyoncé on a few occasions.
Some of what he said in the speech made sense. What I don’t appreciate is what sounds like a sweeping generalization of rappers and people who listen to rap. He mentioned wearing huge gold chains as an indicator that one may not be secure about their financial situation. Or in layman’s terms they’re frontin’.
If we’re honest we will admit that a lot of people in our culture front on a regular. It is what it is. But we also know a lot of people who are financially secure and wear a lot of jewelry because they think the shit is fly.
His speech painted MC’s and rap music as misogynistic and materialistic. Of course both of those elements exist in our culture. But we’re so much more than that. And this is why I created Rapmajor.
I’m tired of people outside of the culture listening to the radio, watching TV and making an assessment about hip hop culture as if they know what they’re talking about. I guess since he no longer needs the support of the hip hop community he doesn’t care about insulting us. I don’t even think it was his intention, but it was insulting nonetheless.
The thing about Obama is that he’s always had a way with words. While campaigning and even as POTUS he chose his words carefully. In his speech, he never blatantly called out rappers, but it was clear who he was talking about. And while I agree with the message, I think he could have delivered it without taking subliminal shots at rappers. Am I being oversensitive? Ya’ll know I don’t play when it comes to hip hop. Tell me what you think.