Macklemore released his latest track, "White Privilege II", an open letter to white listeners in which he raises issues regarding his role as a white American, male surrounded by racial inequality and discrimination in the African-American community. Ideas of branding black culture, appropriation and white supremacy are mentioned as he raps,
" You've exploited and stolen the music, the moment, The magic, the passion, the fashion, you toy with, The culture was never yours to make better, You're Miley, you're Elvis, you're Iggy Azalea, Fake and so plastic, you've heisted the magic, You've taken the drums and the accent you rapped in, You're branded hip-hop, it's so fascist and backwards, That Grandmaster Flash'd go slap it, you bastard, All the money that you made, All the watered down pop-bullshit version of the culture, pal, Go buy a big-ass lawn, go with your big-ass house, Get a big-ass fence, keep people out, It's all stubborn, anyway, can't you see that now?, There's no way for you to even that out, You can join the march, protest, scream and shout, Get on Twitter, hashtag and seem like you're down, But they see through it all, people believe you now?, You said publicly, "Rest in peace, Mike Brown", You speak about equality, but do you really mean it?, Are you marching for freedom, or when it's convenient?,
Although this track challenges and questions these issues for over 8 minutes, there is no resolve, as he ends the track,
"We take all we want from black culture, but will we show up for black lives?".
The track acknowledges problems, but acknowledging is not quite enough in this day and age. We all aware of race problems in America. It doesn't resolve the fact that the majority of African-Americans are imprisoned. 1 out of every 15 to be exact in comparison to 1 out of 106 white men. It leaves an open wound to the fact that a large population of African are under the poverty level, a 27 percent versus 9.9 percent of white Americans. Where do we go from here? Where is the manifesto? Sparking political, social and cultural debates, does not suffice. It only reminds us of the issue, further engraving the subservient idea into the mind of black listeners that we are not equal. The title, "White Privilege II" doesn't help empower. It reassures and unearths the issue.
It's controversial for sure. Its honest and real from his perspective, yet it's unfortunate that Macklemore's goal was not executed and received well because of the system and social construct in place. I appreciate his artistry in taking such a bold, lyrical approach, however action is more believable. Will he use his power, privilege, money and persuasion to fuel his words? If someone could succeed, it would ne him. Hopefully, Macklemore will prove us wrong and begin to act upon his heartfelt beliefs in the near future.
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