Today, rapper Ja Rule appeared on FOX Business and endorsed Hillary Clinton. And Twitter dragged him. Because he’s a rapper, and rappers are stupid and misinformed, right?
Wait, Ja Rule is trending… for presidential elections? That’s like asking Nicki Minaj her thoughts on the deficit…
— Randy Morano (@RandyMorano) May 7, 2015
WHO ASKED JA RULE HIS OPINION ON POLITICS? Who needs his two cents on anything besides Ashanti’s sideburn maintenance?
— ajua bliss (@juasnua) May 7, 2015
Y’all see where I’m going with this? It’s one thing to criticize his support for Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s ties to the prison industrial complex and financial industries are certainly cause for concern. But to berate him for just speaking up based on the assumption that he’s dumb and unaware, is both ridiculous and violent.
Lovin the backlash towards Ja Rule. Like Black male rappers can’t be thoughtful, intelligent, or informed about politics. Carry on.
— Black Millennials (@BlkMillennials) May 7, 2015
I have no idea how informed Ja Rule is on presidential politics. But I do know that he’s a citizen who saw the nuts-and-bolts of corporate media industries, and served lengthy prison sentences for weapons charges and tax issues. To me, these experiences offer an understanding of the political system in some fashion, and are worthy of public discourse.
But no. We’re so conditioned to think that Black folk — especially our rappers — are dull, daft, and dense, and are ultimately incapable of anything other than crime, drugs, and sex.
And let’s not even mention that only a small number of politicians know what they’re doing, and an even smaller number of experts and political pundits know what they’re talking about.
Folks who think rappers are unworthy of political involvement have an infuriatingly minimal understanding of hip hop. Hip hop is political. Hip hop began as an artistic response to institutional racism. Hip hop pioneers recognized their dire conditions were the vengeful, bloodthirsty result of draconian zoning laws, administrative mismanagement, dilapidated school systems, aggressive racist policing, economic starvation, and a plethora of other fucked-up white supremacist things.
In response, folks used what little resources they had to create rhythmic and poetic expressions to manifest their pain into productivity.
As hip hop grew in influence, scope, and reach, corporate entities took encroached, and manufactured hip hop to fit white supremacist tropes which served to mongrelize and hyper-sexualize Black people. And here we are. With folk devaluing rappers and their opinions because corporate moguls are pulling the strings oh so well.
So miss me. Full stop. And let’s honor the man’s right to even speak.