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US Race Relations

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[MP3] Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – White Privilege II

macklemore and ryan lewis - white privilege ii

-macklemore -- white-privilege-ii white privilege ii

“White Privilege II”, where do we even begin with this one? This track probably deserves far more discussion than I’m going to give it here. That being said, there are plenty of think pieces out there already. We live in a time where diversity and access to express one’s voice for POC are themes or discussion points front and centre in the media currently so, let’s be honest, one more blogger talking about it is probably not going to move the needle in any meaningful way.

The issue of white participation in hip hop as artists and behind the scenes running the business has been long been contentious but it’s part of a larger discussion about the contribution of Black voices and bodies in creating American culture and how that culture has spread worldwide (these issues are salient up here in Canada too!). Acknowledgement and appropriation play an integral role in this discussion too. The nomination artists like Macklemore and Iggy Azalea, a target in “White Privilege II”, have received have been the source of much discussion and controversy. Macklemore is not unaware of this and his attempts to address this have drawn plenty of reaction in the past.

The sprawling “White Privilege II” is his attempt to continue addressing those issues and ones beyond it. Macklemore wades into the #BlackLivesMatter debate and explores the idea of whether he has right to speak on it and what it means if he doesn’t.

I’ve seen some commentary online dismissive of the song. But, even if the song is flawed (and at almost nine minutes, chances are, even if you love it or the idea of it, you’re probably going to find fault or have problems with something in it!), doesn’t every journey begins with a single step? People carp on about how America (especially white America) doesn’t want to have a conversation about race. And I see criticism of the calls for a boycott in response to the #OscarSoWhite controversy saying white liberals and white Hollywood need to do more of the heavy lifting on the fixes needed to address the problems. But when Macklemore tries to initiative that conversation with what I would argue is a reasonably solid or at least certainly thoroughly prepared opening take on addressing the issues with “White Privilege II”, he gets pilloried for it. I’ll put it like this: if someone like Macklemore can’t spark this conversation in his world, I’m really not sure who could or what people who have called for this to happen would like to see happen or done instead of this song. I’d be curious what others think though.

Related reading:

On Macklemore’s Sprawling Track About Race, ‘White Privilege II’ (Fast Company)

– ‘This Song Is Uncomfortable’: Macklemore On The Contradictions Of ‘White Privilege’ (NPR Music)

Meet Hollis Wong-Wear & Jamila Woods, the Women of Color Behind Macklemore’s ‘White Privilege II’ (Jezebel)

[MP3 + Music Video] Mr. AT – I Can’t Breathe

Mr AT - I Can't Breathe artwork

I’m sure it’s probably been done already before (??) but I never heard it if has been. Here’s a nice flip of Fabolous‘s “Breathe” by NYC underground MC, Mr. AT for his commentary on the Eric Garner murder, “I Can’t Breathe” (with an excellent video directed by Chris Castro). Simple but effective….

[MP3] Ian Kamau x Big Sproxx – America

AMERICA by IAN KAMAU x BIG SPROXX artwork

Toronto’s Ian Kamau & Big Sproxx release this commentary on recent events (that would be #Ferguson for those of you not catching on!) Where are other artists on this issue though??

Related:

– Grand Jury Won’t Indict Officers In Ohio Wal-Mart Shooting of John Crawford (NPR News)

No Charges for Police Officer in Eric Garner Chokehold Case (NY Times)

– Cartoonist Matt Bors on the Tamir Rice Murder

– Cartoonist Tom Tomorrow on the Right’s hypocrisy on all these Police murders of Black men & boys.

And check out the most recent post on The Kitchen featuring Kamau with Georgia Anne Muldrow: “Heading Home (remix)”

[MP3] Lauryn Hill – Black Rage (sketch)

Lauryn Hill Black Rage (sketch) artwork

This is rough as hell but Lauryn Hill speaking on the Ferguson situation is just one of my favorite things (pun very much intended….)

[MP3] Throwback Thursday: Stic.Man of Dead Prez​, ​Mike Flo​ & ​Mos Def – Made You Die

 MADE YOU DIE by Dead Prez​,​Mike Flo​,​Mos Def from Every 36 Hours by Nu Afrika Ent/MXGM

I don’t know how I missed this heater flipping Nas‘s classic “Made You Look” examining the Trayvon Martin case from last year on the Every 36 Hours album (released by Nu Afrika Ent/MXGM). I only caught wind of it after watching the low budget but still worth watching, Hip Hop, White Supremacy & Capitalism documentary on my man DCQ (of UTD and Medina Green)’s blog, in which the video for it is featured, but #ThrowbackThursday gave me the perfect opportunity to post it still now. After all, the f-ckery still continues. Smdh….

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