Marshall Mathers is a talented lyricist whose white privilege has ascended him to heights rarely seen by black artists of equal talent. People of every hue have been celebrating his freestyle during the BET Hip Hop Awards 1) for it’s attack on Trump and 2) for the line in the sand that he draws between his fans and Trumpsters. He directly addresses and disowns those who like his music and support Trump.
As soon as it was released, black folks in droves began inviting him to the cookout as we always haphazardly do. The slightest affirmation of our struggle or pat on the back by white folks and we’re ready to give them a pass. While his disgust of Trump seems genuine, he is a white, high school dropout whose acceptance into a black and latino art form made him a multi-millionare. Consider that freestyle as his way of paying taxes.
Many white folks who will downplay rap as a genre turn around and hail Eminem because he “keeps it real” and doesn’t fixate on money, jewelry and cars like so many others do. Political commentator Keith Olberman noted that “after 27 years of doubts about rap, I am now an Eminem fan.” When black artists do what Eminem did, they are not regarded as creative geniuses. Can you recall this amount of media coverage for “FDT” by Nipsey Hussle and YG? Can you recall this much media coverage for “WHY” by Jadakiss?
The problem is not that Eminem is white. It’s that his presence perpetuates an issue that has been going since the advent of rock and roll. A black artist does something creative and groundbreaking and gets minimal coverage. Yet when a white artist does something even remotely similar, they are lauded as a genius. Furthermore, those “real” raps that he kicks are not as accepted when they come from black artists. Throughout history, the music industry has accepted and pushed a select few of the narratives put forth by black artists.
The closest Eminem has come to supporting the black community is signing 50 Cent. Also, when you consider that he’s referred to black women as the n-word in the past, you might want to take that cookout invite and throw it in the garbage. I say all that to say; the freestyle was dope but let’s not act like the resurrection of Jesus Christ is upon us.