Grammy award-nominated rapper Vic Mensa has slammed Israel’s relationship with neighboring Palestinians as a form of “white supremacy” in an interview for Forbes magazine.
The Chicago rapper referenced a trip he made to the Middle East in early 2018 as the launching point for his allegation that the Jewish state exerts a “very potent brand of racism and white supremacy” to “oppresses” the people of “Palestine.”
He said of his journey:
This was last August and going to Palestine was very impactful for me because it informed my global perspective on oppression and white supremacy, for sure. I was speaking earlier about the intersection between struggles of different oppressed people. And being out there and just witnessing firsthand this very potent brand of racism and white supremacy made me realize how much of a duty I feel, as someone who is of the oppressed people and speaks for the oppressed people, to keep my eye on the world around me and to be an ally to those in different struggles globally. You see what these people are going through in real life and it makes you realize we are blessed in certain ways and also that we have so much work to do. It’s a lifelong battle.
This is not the first time Mensa has felt drawn to offer his opinions on the Middle East.
In an essay published in Time Magazine in January 2018, ahead of Martin Luther King Day, Mensa said he traveled to “Palestine” with a group of African-American artists, scholars, and activists organized by the Florida-based organization Dream Defenders.
He was quick to point out he was not happy with what he encountered in the piece titled: “Vic Mensa: What Palestine Taught Me About American Racism.”
“My criticism lies with the treatment of Palestinian civilians by the state of Israel, no more and no less. As a black man in America, being stereotyped as a criminal is more than familiar to me, as is being unwanted on the streets of my own home and profiled by law enforcement,” Mensa wrote.
Later in the essay Mensa describes seeing the wall separating parts of Israel from the West Bank.
“It’s as if the South Side of Chicago’s most forgotten and disenfranchised neighborhoods were separated from the luxury of Downtown’s Gold Coast by a simple concrete wall,” he wrote without acknowledging the constant attacks made on the Jewish state from across the border.
The rapper included video footage of the West Bank in the music video for his song “We Could Be Free” last year.
We Could Be Free lyric video. No trigger warning ⚠️ You need to see this. pic.twitter.com/73FB47DVhs
— vino valentino (@VicMensa) December 13, 2017
“I wanted to make a video to show solidarity with people struggling against oppression all over the world,” Mensa told the website AllHipHop after the trip.
“I took scenes from the military occupation of a village I visited in Palestine and juxtaposed them with racial violence in America to show how similar our struggles are and imagine a world without division,” he added.