Jay-Z makes a statement whenever he sits courtside, particularly when his wife Beyonce is by his side.
On Tuesday, the rapper’s choice of bling may have spoken for him.
Jay-Z sported a large circular pendant, a golden symbol of Five Percent Nation, while catching a Nets game at Barclays Center. The group embraces unusual positions regarding religion and race. Five Percent Nation, according to NPR, believes:
Ten percent of the people of the world know the truth of existence, and those elites opt to keep 85 percent of the world in ignorance and under their controlling thumb. The remaining percentage are those who know the truth and are determined to enlighten the rest. They are the Five Percent Nation.
In 1963, a student minister named Clarence 13 X founded the Five Percent Nation when he split with the Nation of Islam. He was a student of Malcolm X, but left his mosque because he disagreed with the Nation of Islam over the nature and identity of God.
The Nation said its founder, W. D. Farad Muhammad was God. But Clarence reasoned that only a pure black man could fill that role — and to him, there was nothing “purely black” about Muhammad, who was bi-racial.
When Jay-Z was asked by a reporter if the group’s symbol meant anything to him, he responded, “a little bit.”
In the 1990s, popular rappers such as the Wu Tang Clan, Nas, and Mobb Deep all used the group’s terminology and taught the beliefs in some of their music.
It’s not Jay-Z’s only connection to Five Percent Nation.
Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America, says that Jay-Z has a keen grasp of certain esoterica, especially in the music video for his new single, “Run This Town.”
In an interview with Guy Raz, Horowitz pointed to Jay-Z’s use of the phrase “Peace God” as an allusion to the Five Percenters. Also known as the Nation of Gods and Earths, they teach that the original black man is God — and that all men are potentially God. “Peace God” is a typical Five Percenter greeting.”A phrase like ‘Peace God’ does not find its way into someone’s vernacular by accident,” Horowitz says. “He’s making a very definite statement.
A writer for Vice.com, who describes himself as a white Muslim who grew to respect some of the group’s teachings, describes Five Percent Nation this way:
The first lesson I learned from the Five Percent was simple: Fuck white people. Seriously. White people are devils. I don’t mean this as a statement on biology, because the category of “race” is only political fiction and bad science. I’m using the term more in the sense of what it means to be marked as white in an unjust society.