Have you peeped all the black men walking around with half-shaven heads and two cornrow braids that meet at the top? The trendy hairstyle seen on men like The Game and Chris Brown is a personal pet peeve of mine, but, pettiness aside, the look demonstrates how quick fellas can be to adopt something perceived to be cool. Interestingly enough, hoping on fashion trends as a man in the industry gets two thumbs up, but jumping on the bandwagon known as Black Lives Matter? That, my friends, should take some thought, so says Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky.
Already dragged for his comments in a 2015 interview with Time Out Magazine in which he distanced himself from the tragic death of Mike Brown, saying, “I don’t wanna talk about no f-cking Ferguson and shit because I don’t live over there. I live in f-cking SoHo and Beverly Hills. I can’t relate,” Rocky did himself no favor when he attempted to clarify his comments on The Breakfast Club this week.
“I just get upset, and what I was really trying to say there was, like, yo, I just, I hate when the bandwagon stuff start,” he told the show hosts. “I mean, how come, you know, black lives only matter when a police take ’em, when a police officer takes it? And it should be like, black lives, it should matter when a black life take it. You know what I mean? It should always matter. All lives matter!”
So instead of jumping on the Black Lives Matter bandwagon, the 27 year old simply aligned himself with the opposition? I don’t know if Rocky’s response is rooted in a bitterness related to the murder of his brother at 13, and perhaps a lack of justice, but it’s mind-blowing that men who could so easily be Alton Sterling or Philando Castille suddenly “can’t relate” to police brutality simply because they’ve secured a record deal. Or how guys who rap about having a strapped backpack suddenly care so much about black lives themselves.
Black lives have always mattered to black people, and if you’re a black person who doesn’t recognize that as fact, you’re a clown. Never have black people who aren’t rappers or gang members ever had to explain that. It’s only the black men who’ve either taken fellow black men’s lives or rapped about doing so who now want to proclaim all lives matter. Hey, if you could leave your personal conscious cleansing out of the larger, more important discussion on police brutality out of the national conversation, that’d be greeeeaaat.
Rappers love to talk about being real, but the only consistent behavior I see among artists like The Game and A$Ap Rocky is a real strategic effort to make sure they don’t alienate white people by speaking out on things that are affecting our community. Because nevermind how alienated we feel, what really matters to them are white dollars. Personally, I don’t know how any entertainer of color couldn’t have a comment to make on the latest ongoings in our country, but I’d rather these stars not say anything at all in lieu of giving credence to the All Lives Matter movement and downplaying the overarching issues of police brutality that so clearly affect us more than anyone else.
A$AP Rocky, all you did with your comments is trade one bandwagon for another — the wrong one. You might think you’re immune to the injustices perpetrated by our criminal justice system, but sit back and watch how little weight your money holds when a police officer decides you’re a threat that must be eliminated. If all lives really mattered, we wouldn’t see a disproportionate number of black lives being indiscriminately slaughtered in the name of fear. But I guess he doesn’t want to talk about that, living in Soho and Beverly Hills and all.