‘I Have Been What Some People Might Call An Opponent:” Mos Def Explains Why He Hasn’t Hopped On Jay-Z’s Barclays Center Bandwagon

February 11, 2013  |  

Source: WENN

Über-talented rapper and actor, Mos Def Yasiin Bey has been less than quiet regarding his apprehension about the newly constructed Barclays Center, which is conveniently located downtown Brooklyn, New York, despite his deep Brooklyn roots.  The night of the stadium’s September opening, the 39-year-old wordsmith took to his pen and pad and composed a poem entitled, “On center.stadium.status.”  Through the poem, he expressed the heaviness that he felt in regard to the stadium and what it could mean for the Brooklyn community. Yasiin recently sat down with Vulture Magazine and pulled no punches as he expressed his reasoning behind the poem and why it’s nothing personal against Jay. Check out what he had to say.

On why the Barclays Center concerns him:

“I was on DeKalb Avenue and Flatbush, probably two months ago, and at the intersection I saw these not-quite-so-young men, in standing traffic, trying to sell bootleg Rolling Stones T-shirts. I thought, “This is the trickle-down economic effect of Barclays in the neighborhood?” I didn’t think of it as a positive.

On his reasoning behind writing the poem:

“I have been what some people might call an opponent to the stadium.  I was concerned about what the stadium’s presence in the community might do. I was concerned.”

On why he chose to express his views in poem format instead of a song:

“I didn’t want it to be misconstrued as some sort personal attack on Jay. If I can’t have an opinion, who can? So to quote Jay: “I’m bigging up my borough. I’m big enough to do it.'”

On what Barclays Center representatives can do to change his mind:

“I would love for Barclays and the NBA and whoever else to prove me wrong, by engaging in the community, not just on some [surface] level for the photo op. But to really be concerned with enriching the lives of people in that community.”

On not being a Jay-Z hater:

“I respect Jay. I have great respect for him. I’m a fan. I’m not a fan of everything [he does] but I don’t think you have to be a fan of everything that someone does to have respect for them.”

You can check out Mos Def’s poem on the next page. What do you think of his opposition? 

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  • Lol

    What is he doing about it besides writing poems? I hope he’s not a “slacktivist”

  • FunnyChick

    He is so intelligent… i really admire him. Had he made that poem into an actual record they would have been make it out like he was takin shots at Jay.

  • I am all for not jumping on any bandwagon of any kind. Stick true to yourself.

  • Interesting..

  • Meyaka

    Mos,you know our folks equates having an opinion with hating… Anyway I agree with him but jay-z “helping the neighborhood” is just well disguised capitalism…

    • Tyquinn

      I dont know who “our folks” is, but I think it is ignorant and unlearned for anyone to equate those two, not a norm. Just sayin…

      • Meyaka

        Fair point well made.

    • Tyquinn

      I dont know who “our folks” is, but I think it is ignorant and unlearned for anyone to equate those two, not a norm. Just sayin…

  • Say What?

    You guys couldn’t have chosen a better picture? Were there none of him wiping his @ss or picking his nose? He looks like a deer caught in headlights or a ninja hearing the results of a positive paternity test in that picture!

  • pretty1908

    Amen, you can state your opinion without being disrespectful or mean. I found his statement to be very accurate. What is the organization doing for the surrounding community? I am Jay Z fan, but outside of music I find him very shady and calculated sorry.

  • Just saying!!

    <3 Mos Def!!

  • kierah

    There are a lot of Brooklynites that opposed the Barclays Center. People fought over this for years, but by the time it was really brought to the public the deal was done. Allegedly there is supposed to be some affordable housing built however that has yet to materialize. What has materialized is an ugly, rusty looking building and traffic jams that stretch over the bridges on major event nights.