Tuesday, 26 January, 2016

Macklemore's 'White Privilege II' tackles race

Jacquelyn Gray2 days ago What Do Macklemore's'White Privilege II Lyrics Mean? It's A Step In The Right Direction Jacquelyn Gray2 days ago What Do Macklemore's'White Privilege II Lyrics Mean? It's A Step In The Right Direction
David Chambers | 26 January, 2016, 03:19

And there's no way not to, and there's no way to make this record and exempt yourself from still benefitting in a certain capacity.' And I think that I had to continue to come back to, 'Is this record, with all of the inherent flaws in it, is it better in the world, or not?' And I couldn't answer that just by myself. In the third verse, the perspective flips again-this time from a white suburban mom who lets her kids listen to Macklemore, but not to black artists, and who feels comfortable expressing her subtle racism to him in public. The Heist was not.

The Seattle-based hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have long had a sharp ear for progressive politics - sharper, it might be said, than their actual musical instincts. But Macklemore is hardly alone in that-in America, in 2016, "clumsy" is one of the nicer words you could use to describe how white people act when talking about race. Iggy Azalea...not so much.

Macklemore stirred things up last week, with the release of he and Ryan Lewis' new song, "White Privilege II".

Azalea took to Twitter on January 22, to speak on her opinion of being called out by a fellow white rapper.

If you don't follow Talib Kweli on Twitter, rectify that immediately. But at the same time, you're benefiting from the same thing you're calling out. But then the white parent complains about a Black Lives Matter protest, saying, "If a cop pulls you over, it's your fault if you run", exposing the disconnect between many of Macklemore's fans and hip-hop culture.

"It's not about me", stated the father-of-one.

As with today's #OscarsSoWhite backlash, it didn't go unnoticed that the "whitest" nominee, a lanky newcomer from Seattle, had taken home the crown with songs that some thought were too simplistic. Would it have been better if Macklemore had just told his listeners to devour all of To Pimp A Butterfly or just played Janelle Monae's "Hell You Talmabout" a couple times in a row at one of his shows?

This Unruly Mess I've Made will be released on February 26.

Not only did Iggy not stay quiet, she tried to make this about her. She did precisely what Taylor Swift did when Nicki Minaj complained about the lack of women of color at the VMAs. "You got robbed", Macklemore wrote.

Cori Murray, entertainment director of Essence magazine, likewise told the Associated Press: "I think that he really did just say very plainly..."

Before anybody reads into this and finds me (a white dude) saying that white folks can't ever rap or shouldn't ever talk about the oppression of marginalized folks, that isn't what I'm saying at all. "Silence is an action" was a ideal representation of where I had been. I love El-P. I adore Aesop Rock.

And for all that "White Privilege II" is posed as a disruptive statement, it's very neatly aligned with widespread thinking on everything from the role of white artists in a historically black medium to the discomfort white allies might feel in black-led protest movements. Do I want to be safe, under the umbrella of my white privilege? It might be nice if that came through in a track that had the potential to be banging from vehicle stereos and on earbuds all year long-the odds seem good that, when the new Macklemore & Ryan Lewis album is released, "White Privilege II" gets skipped past in favor of the fun tracks.

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