Grammy-winning rapper Macklemore spoke at length about race in America and white privilege in a wide-ranging interview on the Hot 97 radio station Monday morning.
For me, as a white dude – as a white rapper, I’m like, ‘How do I participate in this conversation? How do I get involved to a level where I’m not co-opting the movement, or I’m not making it about me, but also realizing the platform and reach that I have, and doing it in an authentic way?
White people, we can just turn off the TV when we’re sick of talking about race. White, liberal people want to be nice. We don’t want to be racist. We want to be, ‘Oh, we’re post-racial. We don’t want to talk about white privilege and it’s all good, right?’ It’s not the case. We have to get past that awkward stage of the race conversation, step up, and just have it. As a white person, we have to listen.
Macklemore also discussed the recent “hip-hop history lesson” that A Tribe Called Quest alum Q-Tip delivered to fellow rapper Iggy Azalea, in which Tip said that while “hiphop is fun it’s vile it’s dance it’s traditional it’s light hearted but 1 thing it can never detach itself from is being a SOCIO-Political movement.”
“This is a whole debate right here, but this is not my culture to begin with,” Macklemore commented. “As much as I have honed my craft, I do believe that I need to know my place.”
The rapper also related how his white skin color confers on him a privilege not ordinarily given to black rappers.
“Why am I safe?” he asked. “Why can I cuss and have a parental advisory sticker on my album, and still parents are like, ‘You’re the only rapper I let my kids listen to?’ Why can I wear a hoodie, and not be a thug? Why can I sag my pants, and not be a gangbanger? Why am I on Ellen’s couch? Why am I on Good Morning America? If I was black, what would my drug addiction look like?”
Check out the rest of the hour-plus interview above.