So let’s talk about Macklemore’s 8 minutes and 42 seconds of white tears with his new song, “White Privilege II:”
For those who haven’t heard the song yet, here’s a brief summary: basically, the song “attempts” to tackle the issues of cultural appropriation, white privilege and white advancement at the cost of black culture, and white people standing up for black lives when it’s convenient. Macklemore takes a page out of J.Cole’s book from the “Fire Squad” chapter of his 2014 Forest Hills Drive album by calling out Iggy Azalea, Elvis Presley and Miley Cyrus for cultural appropriation (convenient how he took his own name out and put in Miley…but I’m just saying!).
Currently available free of purchase on iTunes, the Huffington Post reports that the song is the result of an ongoing conversation on race and racial tensions among artists in Seattle and other cities. The collaborating writers and artists of the new song, alongside Macklemore and his producer Ryan Lewis, are also seeking to reach black-activist organizations, like Black Lives Matter and Black Youth Project 100, to assist in their fight against racial inequalities against the black community.
The artists issued a statement via the “White Privilege II” website stating, “We recognize that there are no easy answers, any one piece of legislation, or quick fix to undo institutional racism in our country. We wish to support direct organizing and be led by the expertise and experience of those on the front lines as we proceed.”
Cool…great…clap clap, bravo.
Like do we give him an honorary black card? Slide him into the NAACP? Call him ‘cousin’ at the next family barbecue?
As a lover and critic of music and hip hop, the song to me just sounds like another bucket of white tears of another white artist “just wanting them to like me!”
In his lyrics, he admits his own ignorance and says he owns up to the fact that he needs to read more articles and have more conversations on the topic of race. He even questions his place at the table of such a conversation, and whether or not it is appropriate for him to attend justice rallies. But should you get a pat on your back or a sticker for admitting that?
Sorry, there is no NAACP or BET award for owning up to your white privilege or ignorance.
Now, I commend (if that’s even the right word) Macklemore for owning up to his truths, which he also did in his first installment, “White Privilege” on his The Language of My World album. To be honest, the first one was actually…okay. I mean…I wouldn’t really call him an artist…or a rapper…whole different conversation for a different day! But I can’t help but to wonder and recognize the convenience of such a song coming out right now, while racial tensions are high in this country…which in itself is a form of appropriation…which he called others out on the same? I’m just saying! (Like you needed a whole website to present ONE song, bro? Really though?)
Cultural appropriation and the history of white privilege has always come at the convenience of our white counterparts, at the expense of black culture (R&B, jazz, rock) and/or black lives (slavery, police brutality).
To proclaim one’s understanding of white privilege does nothing but make you look like you’re asking of more of a handout–honestly, we could care less about your understanding. What we as black people in the fight for our lives do care about is the sincerity of those who claim to be “down for the cause.”
I think Macklemore does genuinely recognize his white privilege, but with the expectation that he’ll receive some grand welcome or praise for it (hence: his screenshot of his text to Kendrick, following his 2014 Grammy win, knowing it should’ve went to Kendrick). You don’t need the world’s affirmation to be down for the cause; you just need to show up and fight alongside us–that’s what being “down” really is, Macklemore.