In a recent interview with Nightline Lil Wayne publicly dismissed the Black Lives Matter movement. In his own words he said: “I don’t feel connected to a damn thing that ain’t got nothin’ to do with me.” The clip of the video has since gone viral, with Black Twitter dragging Lil Wayne through all kinds of dust. It is unsurprising that every news publication covered this story in the hopes of positioning Lil Wayne as a representative of the masses. I do not want to bash Lil Wayne because he has produced some great socially conscious records such as My Heart Races On and Georgia Bush. He even shouted ‘Black Lives Matter’ at a concert in August, so his standpoint in this interview is more than confusing.
Lil Wayne has always presented himself as being unapologetic and if that’s his brand/image, then that’s okay. However ignorance on a thirty-four year old man is never a good look. Claiming to not feel “connected” and therefore ignoring the issues at hand is white-man ignorance. Dare I say it, Wayne sounds a lot like Trump in this interview. Lil Wayne may deny the term ‘role model’, but he is still in a position of power, he still has a hold over the youth. So even if he sees a multiracial crowd at his concert, he cannot deny that we too are his audience. We hailed him and positioned him to become a “rich-black-mother*” position. An artist would be nowhere without their listeners. So to say that you do not feel connected to issues that are affecting our communities is a slap in the face, especially to young black boys.
The notion of black boys growing without fathers is stereotypical, yet true in a lot of cases. Black boys consequently search for role models outside of the home; they find their heroes typically in rap, sport or Obama. Young boys undeniably look up to Lil Wayne. They do not mind the fact that they may be growing up in deprived areas, whilst Lil Wayne flashes the diamonds stuck in his teeth. They find the connection. Lil Wayne is a black man who has made it in White America, so they can too. He and other rappers, and athletes make the dream tangible. However a comment like this wakes them up to a terrible reality that there isn’t unity within the black community, and the few who become stars forget where they came from. Some rich black people become slaves to the dollar, which is why they can claim racism isn’t real because their real concern is only one colour. Rappers are the rock stars of this generation, and history shows that eventually even rock stars fade. Maybe Lil Wayne was faded in the interview but whatever he is smoking takes him far away to Wayne’s World.
– By Naomi for LAMBB