Macklemore: ‘I’m a White Guy, Parents Feel Safe’

The rapper isn't shy about addressing his white privilege.

By Jamilah King Aug 21, 2013

Macklemore’s comments about white privilege are making their way around the Internet. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the Seattle-based rapper (legal name: Ben Haggerty) acknowleges that he wouldn’t have been successful if he weren’t white.

"If you’re going to be a white dude and do this shit, I think you have to take some level of accountability," Haggerty says. "You have to acknowledge where the art came from, where it is today, how you’re benefiting from it. At the very least, just bringing up those points and acknowledging that, yes, I understand my privilege, I understand how it works for me in society, and how it works for me in 2013 with the success that The Heist has had."

"We made a great album," he continues, "but I do think we have benefited from being white and the media grabbing on to something. A song like ‘Thrift Shop’ was safe enough for the kids. It was like, ‘This is music that my mom likes and that I can like as a teenager,’ and even though I’m cussing my ass off in the song, the fact that I’m a white guy, parents feel safe. They let their six-year-olds listen to it. I mean it’s just…it’s different. And would that success have been the same if I would have been a black dude? I think the answer is no."

This isn’t stuff he’s just thought about since he began making hit records. Back in 2009, the rapper released a song called "White Privilege." You can listen to on YouTube.