Lil Wayne must really be an alien. At least that's the easiest way to explain why the Grammy-winning African-American rapper was able to look out at a predominantly white millennial crowd in well-heeled Westchester, New York, and make one crucial observation.
"I thought that was clearly a message that there was no such thing as racism," he told the hosts of Fox Sports 1's Undisputed on Tuesday.
The "A Milli" rapper, whose human parents named him Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., went on to say that the millennial crowd knows what racism is and "it's not cool to them," according to the Daily Beast. (It turns out that's only sorta true.)
At a time when activists in the Black Lives Matter movement have sparked national conversations about race and policing — and while professional, college and high school athletes around the U.S. follow San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick's lead in protesting the national anthem — Carter had an opportunity to wax poetic and speak profoundly to the moment.
But after Undisputed co-host Sterling Sharpe attempted to come to Carter's aid — "He knows [racism is] real, he just hasn't experienced it," the former NFL player said — the rapper fumbled spectacularly.
Racism isn't real because a white, off-duty police officer carried Carter to the hospital after he accidentally shot himself in 2009, the rapper responded to Sharpe, according to the Daily Beast.
It's true that historically, rappers as successful as Carter did not usually clamor to risk their livelihoods by taking strong political stances. But we're in a different era of celebrity today, and when journalists throw challenging questions a rapper's way, it's disheartening to see so little nuance in the answer. Here are five black rappers whose actions speak to the humanity of blacks demanding an end to racial discrimination and can help school Weezy on how to talk about racism in America.
The rap pioneer, who rose to fame with the ultra-woke rap group Public Enemy, recently told the Guardian that he agrees with BLM's message.
It's a defensive movement. It's just saying, 'Hey, you need to treat us like people and that we're not going to tolerate being slaughtered like pigs or sheep.' The whole thing that thinking that BLM is an offensive movement is wrong. All lives matter, true, but if we don't treat all lives equally then no lives matter.
The "Bring 'Em Out" rapper released a music video for his new song "War Zone" that features images of black men killed by police officers in the U.S., according to MTV News. The song's lyrics also mention the July police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
Sterling's death also prompted the Toronto-hailing rapper to speak out about police violence against people of color. Here's an Instagram message he shared in July:
Around the time his wife, Beyoncé, released a statement questioning the deaths of Sterling and Castile, the Brooklyn-raised rapper released the song "spiritual" to express his solidarity with families of people killed by police.
The artist was among the first nationally renowned rappers to release a song that saluted BLM protesters. He released "Be Free" and visited Ferguson, Missouri, shortly after a white police officer shot unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014.
"All we wanna do is break the chains off/ All we wanna do is be free," he sings.