No one is in denial about Jay-Z’s past. His lyrics are an open book to the lifestyle he lived and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say he glorifies it, he never hid it. There may have been a time early in his career when he did, but let’s not forget this man is 42-years-old and far removed from the drug game. Are the choices he made as teenager and in his twenties going to follow him for the rest of his life because white America can’t stand the fact that white men aren’t the only ones who can pull themselves up by the bootstraps? Jay’s straps may have been on a pair of sneakers he purchased with drug money but it’s unfair to let that distract or take away from the man he’s become and the man he’s been for several years/decades now. It’s cool if Mushnick wants to believe every other white sports team owner got all of their money through legit, unselfish, non-discriminatory business practices but we all know the likelihood that they have a little dirty money on their hands. The post writer is hardly concerned about the detriment Jay-Z’s lyrics are causing the black community, he’s concerned about his encroachment on the 1 percent.
It’s that fact that makes it so frustrating for me to read black people’s comments defending the words of Mushnick and other like-minded people. Would I like it if Jay-Z shared his $400 million-plus fortune a little more with the black community? Absolutely. Do I respect his ability to do with his money as he so pleases? Absolutely. Do I admire the hustle and the empire he’s been able to build after rising from a kid born into less-than-sub-par circumstances in Brooklyn? Without a doubt. I’m of the same mind as Jay when he says, “If you don’t like my lyrics you can press fast forward.” His music, specifically his lyricism, is only one part of his success and I hardly think black (or white people) calling us n*ggers or n*ggas is one of our gravest concerns as a community. I also don’t think in this day and age any white person needs the problem with them using that word explained to them no matter who else they hear using it. What the real issue is here is that no matter how far you climb there are going to be people who try to reduce you to being nothing more than a n*gger, as in an ignorant person, even when your accomplishments, as Jay-Z’s do, show you are far more. My simple advice to Mushnick would be to get comfy. There are plenty more so-called n*ggers, Beyotches, and h*es where Jay-Z came from and we want that same success.
Do you take issue with Mushnick’s comments on Jay-Z and the Brooklyn Nets or do you agree with his commentary on the rapper?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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