In this week’s edition of "Rappers Say The Wildest Things," Lil Wayne appeared on last night’s episode of ABC’s Nightline and made some particularly disparaging comments about the Black Lives Matter movement.
“What is it? What do you mean?” Wayne said, looking rather puzzled when Linsey Davis asked him about his feelings on Black Lives Matter. “That just sounds weird, I don’t know that you put a name on it. It’s not a name, it’s not ‘whatever, whatever.’ It’s somebody got shot by a policeman for a fucked up reason.”
But that was just the beginning of it...
"I am a young black rich motherfucker. If that don’t let you know that America understand black motherfuckers matter these days, I don’t know what it is. That man white, he filming me. I’m a nigga. I don’t know what you mean. Don’t come at me with that dumb shit. My life matter—especially to my bitches."
"I don’t feel connected to a damn thing that ain’t got nothing to do with me. If you do, you crazy as shit. If it ain’t got nothing to do with me, I ain’t connected to it. I’m connected to this motherfucking flag right here. I’m a gangbanger, man." —Lil Wayne
Wayne ended the interview “angrily” by pulling out his mic and saying, “I ain’t no fucking politician, man,” which is the most accurate thing he said in the entire interview.
So there you have it, folks, Lil Wayne thinks Black Lives Matter is “dumb” because, he—a black man—is successful. Let me guess, he thought racism officially ended the day Obama took office, right?
In fact, that might not be a crazy assumption. Just a few weeks ago Wayne appeared on FOX Sports and claimed “there was no such thing as racism” because most of his shows are full of white kids. He later clarified those comments by saying a white cop saved his life after he accidentally shot himself at the age of 12, so “I don’t know what racism is.”
At this point, it’s clear Lil Wayne seriously lacks an understanding of the issues at hand. Black Lives Matter isn’t saying every white person—whether that’s a cop, judge, politician or Weezy fan—is racist. Part of its mission is highlighting and combating the systemic problems that allow racism to go unpunished. Just because Wayne has been “blessed” enough to live a life free of racism, it doesn’t mean millions of people aren’t still victimized by it, whether that’s being called a “thug” by the presidential candidate you're voting for or being murdered by police, like Alton Sterling was in Wayne’s home state of Louisiana this year.
Lil Wayne’s comments also undermine the important work of artists like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Common, Vic Mensa, Beyoncé, Solange and so many others who have been empowering the Black Lives Matter movement through their music. Even rappers like YG and The Game, who rep the same red flag as Lil Wayne, have been speaking out against social injustice, so gang affiliation is hardly an excuse to sit out the fight. Weezy may not be the biggest rapper alive anymore, but his words still carry weight.
That’s not to say every rapper or rap song has to be ultra-political. There’s enough space in this world for Chance The Rapper and Chief Keef to co-exist. But Lil Wayne should know better than most how important of a tool hip-hop is in breaking down racial barriers and bringing together people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. It’s important for us to build a bridge of understanding, not willful ignorance.
Having said all this, can anyone honestly say they’re surprised by Lil Wayne’s comments? The closest Weezy F. Baby has come to political rap is "Georgia... Bush," which came out a decade ago. Like he said himself, “I ain’t no fucking politician,” so why would anyone look to Lil Wayne for political statements, either in his music or interviews? It's part of a wider discussion on who's responsible for supporting Black Lives Matter—celebrities with influence? Political leaders with knowledge and experience? Black victims? White allies?—and clearly, Wayne feels he's above it all.
Maybe it has something to do with how desperately out of touch Lil Wayne, like a lot of celebrities sheltered by fame and wealth, has become. During his appearance on FOX Sports, he admitted to being clueless about Colin Kaepernick’s protest and said, “the Black Lives Matter thing, that whole wave just went by me too fast.” Even when it comes to music, Wayne has no idea who all these new rappers with the weird names are. He probably just spends his days skating, watching ESPN and recording music nobody will ever hear.
At best, Lil Wayne is the rap game Charles Barkley. At worst, he’s selfish, ignorant and unapologetic, who maybe needs to learn to shut up. It’s one thing to stay silent on social issues, but it’s another to say, fuck that and the people trying to fight them. It doesn't help that there's footage of him leading a "Black Lives Matter" chant at his Lil Weezyana Fest in August that comes off as derisive more than anything.
You don’t have to look further than a Trump rally to see how infuriated some Americans get when you simply utter the words “Black Lives Matter." We just didn’t think Lil Wayne would be one of those people.