At the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards, Eminem came out with a freestyle that targeted President Trump, and white people everywhere are praising the diss and even reposting the problematic “Not totally sure how rap battles work, but I believe Eminem is now the President of the United States of America,” meme.
No, no he isn’t, and the last thing we need is another white male celebrity in the White House.
Eminem takes shots at Trump’s racism, association with “Klansmen,” praises Colin Kaepernick, threatens to bash Trump against the wall he intends to build, and tells his fans in no uncertain terms they cannot simultaneously be Trump supporters and enjoy Eminem’s music.
The problem here is not that what Eminem is saying is untrue. On the contrary, he voices a lot of concerns – that people of color have already expressed.
Eminem essentially took what Tupac, Jay-Z, J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, NWA, and countless other artists have been saying for years, and made it palatable enough for white people to support. White Americans have been shitting on the black and brown experience in America since the country’s inception. They continue to disregard people of color in the music industry who address black power, racism, Donald Trump, police brutality, and inequality in America. Rappers and hip hop artists have been incorporating some of these themes into their work for generations. White people are losing their minds over Eminem’s diss because white people will only believe and get behind a movement if it’s coming out of a white mouth.
Where were y’all when Jay-Z’s 99 Problems was released and he asked of the world, “[Is it] ’cause I’m young and I’m black and my hat’s real low?” Were you still calling him a drug dealer then?
What did you say when NWA came out with Fuck Tha Police and straight up told America that “A young n**** got it bad ’cause I’m brown/And not the other color, so police think/They have the authority to kill a minority?” Did you say, “Fuck NWA and their race-baiting, cop-hating, gang-promoting, thug-glorifying street music?”
Is Kendrick’s DNA too much for you because he celebrates his ancestry, asserting it can’t be imitated?
Did J Cole’s Neighbors strike a chord with you because you secretly (or maybe not so secretly) harbor suspicions about your African-American neighbors and have anxieties about their supposed drug usage?
Did you listen to a single song on Joey Bada$$’s album All Amerikkkan Bada$$? Because if you did, you’d know that he trashes the Trump administration, calling Trump “unfit” to run the country, calls out Donald with Schoolboy Q with a “If you got the guts, scream fuck Donald Trump,” and says of white Americans, “They still won’t let the black man live.”
Is Future’s March Madness and examination of police brutality irrelevant because he also raps about drinking lean and using Xanax and Percocet recreationally?
What did you have to say when The Game talked about unloading on Donald Trump and splattering his brains “all on the sidewalk” on the track El Chapo?
This is my question to white America: why do you continually look the other way or make excuses when black and brown people tell you about the inequality, brutality, oppression, and violence they experience but laud a white male who hijacked a culture to cultivate his own image and profit?
And why do you feel the need to celebrate his diss when he dropped it at the BET Hip Hop Awards, a space meant for black artists, black achievements, and black excellence? Do you not see the grotesque irony in ripping off a community’s culture for years and then using it to promote yourself and receive white approval in that community’s very space?
It shouldn’t take a white man regurgitating what people of color have been trying to bring attention to for America to wake up. We should have already been listening to the narratives of historically oppressed groups and working to dismantle white supremacy, not discrediting them because white people are sick of black people “pulling the race card.”
Eminem did nothing revolutionary. Once again, he stole from a culture and is now receiving positive attention for it because it would be mind boggling to white people to sit down, shut up, and actually listen to what people of color have to say.