Lil Wayne has said a lot of crazy stuff on and off the record, but this might top the list. While appearing on the FS1 show Undisputed earlier today, Weezy said he thinks racism doesn’t exist.
“I don’t wanna be bashed because I don’t wanna sound like I’m on the wrong – if there is a side – but I thought that was clearly a message that there was no such thing as racism anymore… I think that was a perfect example… My crowd has always been everybody,” he said.
He was responding to a question from Skip Bayless, who remembered the time he saw Weezy perform in front of an all-White crowd. Bayless asked Wayne why there are so many White Hip Hop fans and what he thinks their interest in rap means for humanity.
Wayne made it clear that he was speaking strictly from his extraordinary personal experience, but still gave Bayless the controversial quote he was fishing for. Wayne should have known that his words would be chopped without context to make the most divisive possible soundbites and headlines. How did he not realize his experience would be appropriated as evidence that we live in post-racial society? His response is nothing more than additional ammunition for racism deniers who want Colin Kaepernick and Black Lives Matter to stop complaining and get over “the past.”
Despite his disclaimer, Wayne’s quote just doesn’t fit the critical thinking skills he’s proven to possess in the past. White kids have always identified with the Black experience through pop culture, for all sorts of reasons. Some genuinely love the music, some are just rebelling, and a few probably really do care about the systematic racism and injustice Wayne and his family will face outside of the venue. But how can the man who tweeted this claim racism doesn’t exist?
There’s really no answer for Bayless’ question that doesn’t somehow hurt Wayne in the eyes of his fans. He and other rappers already have to overlook stadiums full of White people shouting “nigga” back to them as they rap along to their lyrics (probably not a hard issue for him to get over, since they’re all paying him for the privilege to do so). But can we really expect someone who’s been making a living that way since adolescence to see the issue the way regular civilians do? Are we asking too much?
The disappointment comes from Wayne’s lack of awareness. Of course he was being brand aware, making sure to avoid offending the aforementioned White fans who pack his shows. But everyone, from celebrities to Facebook commenters, need to be more aware of how their actions affect America’s tense social climate. Wayne clearly sees what’s happening to people of color in this country, but he doesn’t seem to realize where he fits into the picture. Much like Shaq, who defended Donald Trump as a misunderstood “genuine guy” last week, Wayne is confusing the acceptance that White society grants “special” Black people with actual racial progress.
Whether the subject is Wayne, Stacey Dash, A$AP Rocky or Cam Newton, Black celebrities must stop letting their unique experiences disconnect them from the struggle of the masses. Not everyone is built to make the sacrifices that activists and protestors must, but the least our post-racial celebrities can do is keep quiet the next time an interviewer starts digging for a controversial quote that will be used to undermine the struggle for social justice.
Anyways, some good news from the interview: Tunechi also declared that he is no longer retiring from rap. He made it clear, however, that he will never work with his estranged mentor Birdman again. Either way, we think Wayne would benefit from spending some quality time with the newly woke Colin Kaepernick to further discuss his racial views.
PHOTO CREDIT: HOTHIPHOPDETROIT.COM | VIDEO SOURCE: Twitter