Two rappers involved in the public conversation about the Black Lives Matter movement called out another legendary MC for his disparaging comments about the racial justice movement.
The controversy started with Dwayne "Lil Wayne" Carter Jr.’s comments about the movement during an interview on ABC’s Nightline last week:
Lil Wayne says he doesn’t feel connected to Black Lives Matter movement. Watch tonight on Nightline at 12:35am ET. pic.twitter.com/28eBGfpSja
— Nightline (@Nightline) November 2, 2016
"It’s not a name, it’s not ‘whatever, whatever,’ it’s somebody got shot by a policeman for a fucked up reason," Wayne told the interviewer, Linsey Davis, as he described his unease with putting instances of police violence under one umbrella. He went on to dismiss the idea that Black lives are undervalued, saying, "I am a Black rich motherfucker—if that don’t let you know that America understand Black motherfuckers matter these days, I don’t know what it is." He later added, "My life matter, especially to my bitches," before winking at the camera. Wayne further described his disconnect from the movement, saying, "I don’t feel connected to a damn thing that ain’t got nothin’ to do with me. If you do, you crazy as shit."
Many admonished Wayne’s comments as self-centered and indicative of a presumption that his success means anti-Black racism isn’t a problem. While conducting a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) on his new projects, Vic Mensa called Wayne’s position "very ignorant, selfish [and] isolated." "Because even someone as big as Wayne is just a Black man minus all of his ice and fame, and can be treated the same way," he wrote in response to a question about Black artists who speak against the movement.
@liltunechi This is my son & daughter showing me this for the first time & asking me what you mean? I’m at a complete loss of words here. Wayne I’ve known you over a decade. Our daughters grew up together practically. Reginae’ spent countless times at my house with Niq-Niq when you were in prison & you extended my daughter the same courtesy when I was in the same position. Our relationship outside of music is what makes me sensitive to your disposition. I KNOW you wired a bit different than most other responsible adults, but still nigga U TRIPPING!!!! I don’t know what you goin thru,or what you are attempting to avoid but this shit is absolutely unacceptable!!!! You’re disrespecting yourself,bringing shame on your family name & tarnishing your legacy. You have children (including mines prior to now) that have looked up to you. You have sons & a daughter that depend upon your leadership. Bro if you don’t stand for something out here,all the money,jewelry,cars,mansions bandannas & hit records don’t mean shit!!!! Our people are being oppressed!!! We are being hunted,captured & slaughtered out here daily!!! You have to get outta that bubble that you’ve been living in & get out here & educate yourself on what’s going on around US!!! I’m always here to share whatever knowledge or understanding I may have to assist your growth & development,but u MUST STOP this buffoonery & coonin’ you out here doin. You looking like somebody who has something to gain or lose by pretending like it’s not as bad as BLM making it seem & you’re not aware of an issue that needs to be addressed. That’s what would be considered "Uncle Tom Shit"…. I know U,YOURE BETTER THAN THIS!!!!! I’ve been proud to call myself a fan & a friend of Lil Wayne ,but if that must end in order to stand up for those who can’t do it for themselves…So be it. If you’re not prepared for a question in an interview,say No Comment Bro. But stop embarrassing yourself & everyone out here who’s been supporting you. There is no middle ground. Oppression knows no neutral party,either you’re part of the oppressed,or you with the oppressor. There is no such thing as oppression not affecting you. It’s #USorELSE out here
Perhaps the most complete criticism came from friend Clifford "T.I." Harris, who posted the lengthy message above (with a video of Wayne’s interview playing on a cell phone) to his Instagram account on Saturday (November 5). Imploring Wayne to rise above the "Uncle Tom Shit" of his statements, he pleaded for his friend to "get outta that bubble that [he’s] been living in" and learn about racial justice issues affecting Black people. "Oppression knows no neutral party," he said, "either you’re part of the oppressed, or you with the oppressor." He also said he would cut ties with his friend if he needs to.
Wayne has since apologized for his statements, telling TMZ that Davis’ questions about his daughter and lyrics objectifying women threw him off. TMZ later reported that Wayne’s camp tried to stop the interview from airing because the questions weren’t pre-approved, and that he fired his publicity team in the aftermath of the interview. ABC News told TMZ that none of the questions were provided to Wayne’s team prior to the interview.