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Last night, my friend was watching The Tonight Show while he and I chatted on the phone. All of a sudden he got a little excited because Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame was rapping some hip-hop alphabet song. “Ohhh gosh. This will be on my social media feed tomorrow.” And there it was. when I awoke. Turns out Radcliffe did the Blackalicious’ “Alphabet Aerobics”

“I wonder why whenever Fallon does something hip hop related, it’s usually with another white person,” my friend remarked. Hmmm…good question.

We all know about Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s fun with their History of Rap segments. I get that Fallon (I mean he has The Roots as his house band) has a love and appreciation for hip hop, but when he and his white counterparts get all geeked about it and show off – is it true appreciation or is this another instance where Black folks can’t  have anything to ourselves? Is it supposed to be like, oooo these white boys rapping is the coolest thing ever? What does that say about our expectations of white boys who grew up listening to hip hop (which is the dominating music of a generation) vs. Black men who did the same? One was born cool and one got it through osmosis?

In Radcliffe’s case since he has been trying his hardest to shake the Harry Potter stereotype and typecast, maybe it was supposed to be an unveiling that he is not that character. That he is a grown man (who is English, I might add) who loves hip hop! And he’s here to prove it. I think it’s important to note that he talks about Eminem first when discussing his love for hip hop.

I don’t know. While his skills are impressive, I’m giving a slight side-eye that I’m supposed to find his performance awesome and amazing. But I take comfort in knowing that everyone tries their hardest to imitate Black folk.

Check out the video below.

Diana Veiga is a Spelman woman, a DC resident, and a freelance writer. Of course, she’s also on Twitter.

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  • Margaret

    I didn’t get any particular vibe from the Daniel Radcliffe thing. He’s a hip hop fan. His skill – memorizing and regurgitating complex lyrics – is most impressive. He’s not a rapper and doesn’t claim to be one. That alphabet thing was awesome.

    Now – if Jimmy Fallon had black folks spitting lyrics every time they were on, someone would cry foul. He can’t win.

    There is no conspiracy here.

  • psquaredla

    All of this reminds me of the hilarious Paul Mooney from a Chappelle’s Show bit “EVERYBODY wanna be a ni**a, but NOBODY wannna be ni**a.”

    I aplogize for the use of the “word”, but dammit if Paul wasn’t right.