Tuesday, January 28, 2014

No Same Love For White Rap From President

Obama pops Mackelmore’s tags in most emotional SOTUA yet

Article written by George Stefano Pallas.  Views, bad writing, and horrible rap allusions expressed by the author are his alone and do not necessarily reflect nor should be construed as those of the Author, unless they’re directly attributed to him, in which case he accepts full responsibility for his transgressions and apologizes for being acquainted enough with the subject to make them in the first place.

In his annual state of the union address, President Barack Obama touched on many pressing issues that still face America in the wake of the preceding administration, from creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, closing the economically troubling wealth gap, making universal access to health care a reality, ensuring that all workers can receive a living wage, and taking firm action against climate change, but possibly the most unexpected and impassioned highlight of his speech came when he broached the racial controversy over white privilege in contemporary rap culture.

He has been called the first hip-hop president by many political analysts, having fondly spoken of the genre’s prevalence on his iPod and utilized the sway of acclaimed rappers like Ludacris, Jay-Z, and Kanye West to his advantage in the historic 2008 election, but Obama nonetheless insists that recent events have demonstrated an upsetting trend in the industry away from its colored roots.  “Hip-hop has always been an African-American art form,” said the President Tuesday night.  “Trying to just cut out the cultural background of this music as though that identity never existed is like trying to erase the discrimination and hate endured by millions of African-Americans prior to the civil rights movement; it doesn’t work and it only fosters ignorance.”

The President’s remarks appear to have been formed directly in response to Seattle-based hip-hop duo Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis’ sweeping victory at the 56th Grammy Awards last weekend.  Both artists are white and picked up all the awards in traditionally black-dominated categories, winning Best Rap Song for their hit take on “Thrift Shop”, beating out Jay-Z, Drake, Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar for Best Rap Album, and even triumphing over the final rapper for the highly coveted Best New Artist prize.

The outcome immediately provoked furious rants on the internet about the ramifications of honoring white performers for black artistry, rounded off with accusations that the judging committee made “the safe choice” by favoring the Caucasian group.  Even with the rise of Eminem, white hip-hop has always borne a social stigma for its perceived degradation of ebonics and the fact that the “N-word” factors so heavily into its beats, and the Grammys has only exacerbated animosity towards the genre.

Mackelmore himself, who once wrote a song lamenting that the white face could so readily appropriate the black genre, issued an open apology to Lamar on Instagram for exploiting his pale complexion to cheat the “good kid, m.A.A.d city” rapper out of his rightful distinction.  “Sorry for being white, man.  You got robbed.”  Last year, the progressive singer confessed to Rolling Stones that his skin color has played a key factor in his success, saying, “If you’re going to be a white dude and do this (unprintable), I think you have to take some level of accountability… I do think we have benefited from being white and the media grabbing on to something… even though I’m cussing my (unprintable) off in the song – the fact that I’m a white guy – parents feel safe.  They let their six-year-olds listen to it…”  But sometimes even the most heartfelt apology isn’t sufficient to make amends, as the case has proven with Obama and white rappers at large.

The President contended that hip-hop poseurs “recall all the most hateful and disgusting aspects of blackface and should be renounced by anyone who, like myself, supports love and equality for all people, no matter what their skin color is, what god they worship, or who they love.  Professor Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis are clearly smart men and good guys whose music is having a positive impact on a lot of young people, but, as an African-American, it pains me especially that they would strive to spread a message of tolerance with the gay community by demeaning the black community.  Obviously I’m disappointed in them; I’m even more disappointed in those who would reward such an insensitive delivery for such an important message.”

Mr. Mackelmore and Mr. Lewis weren’t the only white musicians that Obama targeted yesterday evening.  Although he didn’t specifically enumerate anyone else in his emotionally charged monologue, the 6-year incumbent later went on air with his old pal Jimmy Fallon to take aim at Eminem, who has claimed front stage in a number of performances with the ethnically ambiguous Rihanna, the now retired Beastie Boys who started the whole affair, and Pitbull.

Obama didn’t settle to rebuke Mackelmore and his relatives merely for usurping the trade of his black brothers and sisters, lambasting them also for assuming a guise of public commitment while privately amassing vast sums of wealth through their divisive music.  “For a guy who’s only got $20 in his pocket, Mr. Haggerty has profited immensely from preaching antipathy to those who are not like him,” said the first black president of the United States, segueing into a plea for economic justice.

“This is exactly why I support raising the minimum wage for hard-working Americans, so that no one has to live in poverty while fat-cat rappers bring in millions of dollars that they don’t need.  As members of the American family, we often assume the ceiling can’t hold us, that we can rise as high as we want by our own initiative, but eventually enough is enough.  People like myself and Haggerty and Lewis don’t need another tax break, and I remain committed to making sure that everybody gets a fair shake and does a fair share.”

Although half of the assembly present and John Boehner rose to their feet in deafening applause at this point, it remains to be seen whether Obama’s fiery speech will rekindle his waning influence among the traditional hip-hop singers who fueled his campaign for office, along with notable figures like Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Al Sharpton, and Samuel Jackson.  Kanye West in particular has had a kind of falling-out with his former idol, using an industry simile to illustrate their current relationship.  “Obama was supposed to be the coolest person on the planet – now he gotta say our names to be cool.  It’s like a feature; we feature in his interviews right now. They need a feature from us to get relevant.”

One of Obama’s top supporters.  “I’mma let you finish, but Beyonce had the best music video of ALL TIME!”

This comes shortly after Obama declared Kanye’s music “outstanding” and complimented him for bringing awareness to minority oppression with the anti-Illuminati protest song “New Slaves” (“Yeah they confuse us with bull____ / Like the New World Order / Meanwhile the DEA / Teamed up with the CCA / They tryna lock n_____s up / They tryna make new slaves) and to sexual assault with the now famous pro-women’s rights music video “Bound 2”,  in which he and Kim Kardashian lay their true love bare on a motorcycle for all to see.

Another one of Obama’s top supporters, and his wife.  This was the only photo from their Grammys ‘performance’ that passed muster under our PG-13 test.

One of the President’s biggest celebrity representatives, Jay-Z also criticized Obama’s reaction. “Me and Obama, we’re really tight, like we text each other all through the damn night.  He’ll say this and I’m like, ‘Word, brother.’  But he took it way too far this time, muh_____.  They say imitation the sincerest form of flattery.  Mackelmore, Lewis, they ain’t mocking me.  Ball so hard.  This ____ crazy, uh!”

The American Civil Liberties Union immediately leapt to the defense of card-carrying (literally) member Mackelmore, decrying Obama’s rhetoric as a verbal assault on his right to free expression.  White House press secretary Jay Carney defused these claims with the explanation that, “President Obama fully respects the right of artists to sing about social issues that concern them, just as he respects the right of anti-Islamic indie filmmakers to make whatever crude, disgusting, or offensive slanders they please.  There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis because they don’t like the idea of a white rapper.  Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis and give them the benefit of the doubt precisely because they’re white rappers.”

The Author declined to watch the Grammys in full or part on the basis that they’re fast deteriorating into “kiddie porn” and “GLAAD-tailored propaganda”, but he too had an abundance of critical words for M&RL.  “Granted that we disagree on about 99% of public debates, there’s a certain satisfaction in being able to meet with Obama that 1% of the time.  Kanye West is a jackass, white gangster rap is utterly disrespectful and obscene, and Mackelmore is the dumbest, most inarticulate pile of Truther manure left of… well, left of everybody really.  The dope’s a broken keyboard, reeking of R. Kelly’s sheets, arraying himself in better artists’ clothes that he picked up for 99 cents: even his closest followers acknowledge that his top single is just a lame, profanity-laced cover of a vastly superior Tyler Ward/Lindsey Stirling title.  Hey, Mac – go officiate some ‘gay weddings’ and leave the music to those who can play a real instrument.  Or, you know, sing.  Or, you know, look increeeedible…”


Addendum by the Author: Just kidding.  If I plugged Lindsey into every single post, it would quickly cease to be very funny or attractive, unlike… well, yeah.  Look, it’d be reaaaally awkward, is what I’m trying to say.  No worries, though.  I have at least three more topical plugs waiting in the wings.

Correction from the editing staff: Even though Obama did single Pitbull out as a “white rapper” on the Late-Night Show, the “Timber” artist is actually a Cuban-American who incidentally has a light skin hue; we should have reported this distinction as such in the original version of the article.  The staff of the Files apologizes on behalf of George Pallas for any confusion this error might have wrought.

Notice to concerned parties: Yes, the Author did survive the State of the Union drinking game last night, though he was only barely able to get this article up afterwards.  George Pallas abstained because he had to attentively observe and record the address live from the Capitol floor.

Just watched it again.  On reconsideration, this is too good not to plug.  And she sings/raps in it.  *Swoon*

1 comment:

  1. Subtly plugging and flattering Lindsey Stirling in the post under the given pretense of trying to avoid plugging Lindsey Stirling into too many consecutive posts. Clever boy.

    And George turns in another eye-opening piece of American journalism. I wonder why all of the mainstream media outlets are overlooking this part of Obama's speech.

    ~ Diana "Di" Sarning


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