So The President Doesn't Like Black People Because He Has Lil Wayne On His iPod?



Rolling Stone recently published an interview with President Barack Obama in which he spoke about what music he's currently listening to and it elicited a Wall Street Journal opinion piece from Thomas Chatterton Williams where he chastises the president's endorsement of hip hop as an act against Black America. Of course. Honing in on the music of Lil Wayne and the life story of Jay-Z, he criticizes Obama for promoting violence, among other things, as attempting to appear "relatable and cool to a generation of Americans under the sway of hip-hop culture."

I'm not going to argue against William's points regarding hip hop or coolness. He is entitled to his opinion, and he's right in assuming that someone like me thinks hip hop makes you cool because that's the only reason I listen to it, obviously. Plus, Lil Wayne is in prison and Jay-Z wears his drug hustling past like a badge of honor. I am, however, going to question the laziness he exhibits by leaving out other non hip hop examples from his argument. After the bounce, of course.

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For example, Miles Davis was a notorious misogynist. In addition to being a musical virtuoso who pushed modern jazz to its limits he was also a heroin addict and a pimp. Why not parade those facts out to support the argument as well? It seems as though actively engaging in sex trade ranks up pretty high up on a scale of injustices against The Community, no? Lil Wayne's lyrics "look, ma, I'm trying to make a porno starring us well not just us, a couple foreign sluts" can be considered from a whole different perspective when considered in relation Bitches Brew. Get it? Bitches.

And don't even get me started on the President Obama's comment that he has "a lot of R&B." A lot of R&B? If there is one genre of music that has contributed most to the 70% of black children being born out of wedlock (according to Williams), it has to be R&B. This is the genre that beloved crooner and Roots Crew collaborator John Legend believes has lost its political edge and has been "relegated to the bedroom" since the 1960s and 1970s. And as someone who just released an album of covers of socially-minded soul music from the 1960s and 1970s he is an authoritative voice on the matter. Also: R. Kelly.
Additionally, Williams conveniently leaves out how President Obama says he likes classical music. You know who else liked classical music? Ronald Reagan. (Pssst...he was President during the Golden Age of Hip Hop. Oh, the connections!) Reagan even listed a song by Igor Stravinsky as one of his favorites. And you know what Stravinsky was? A philandering-ass cheater. Hollywood even made a film about it, so you know it's true

In an article about George W. Bush's iPod, a friend and colleague said that "no one should psychoanalyze the song selection. It's music to get over the next hill." And while no one is psychoanalyzing Obama's playlist here, perhaps Obama's shouldn't be viewed as an opportunity to espouse the same arguments against hip hop that are always made about hip hop or to make him seem like he is a proponent of systemic problems that affect black communities because he has some Jay-Z MP3s. Maybe, just maybe, these songs are just "music to get over the next hill."

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