Connect with us

Entertainment

A (Somewhat) Problematic Essay about Mac Miller, Exclusion, and Hip-Hop Culture

mm

Published

on

Considering that we tend to treat a person’s death as a sacred occasion above reproach, what I am about to write might be problematic. Next, in writing this, I mean no ill will towards Mac Miller; I’m merely making an observation. While I recognize that I may be crossing a line, this has been on my brain for days, and I have to write it down, get it out, see if I’m the only one who sees this.

On Friday, September 7, hip-hop artist, Mac Miller, went on to glory. He was a young man, who by all accounts struggled through the first quarter of his life. I admit that I have no special connection to Mac Miller; I didn’t know his music or his life, and the only reason I even recognized his name is because he happens to be a White man in hip-hop, a distinctly Black site of cultural production. In the same way that all the executives at a corporation might know Chuck, the only Black guy in their elite corporate spaces, I knew Mac Miller because he was one of few White men in a Black cultural space.

Since his passing, I have been introduced to his political views via clips of his monologues which seem to lean towards his belief in Black lives mattering. I’ve watched his Tiny Desk performance maybe 68 times in 3 days because it’s that damn good. I’ve downloaded his last album (like everyone else obviously because it’s currently the number one) and it is very, very good. I’m mad at myself that I didn’t catch on to him sooner.

I have also become acutely aware of his reach in hip-hop over these past three days as several influential Black hip hop artists – Big Boi, Chance the Rapper, J. Cole – have posted their heartfelt twitter eulogies dedicated to Mac Miller. I would expect nothing less. And some of the younger people I follow on Twitter have posted their own connections to Mac Miller. The outpouring of love reminds me of how I felt as a 17-year-old learning that Tupac died and then six months later, waking up to hear that Biggie was gone too.  I said all of that to say, I get it.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Sigh. I remember you pulled up to my studio in 2010 in an old Volvo packed to the rim. You, Treejay, and Q were on tour, just starting out. You went from that old Volvo, to multiple tour buses, sold out concerts, a TV show….everything man. It was amazing to watch you grow. You always treated my Jamla family like your family, and helped anytime you could. It was YOU that was the FIRST rapper to call me and say…”hey man I wanna take Rapsody on tour with me…she’s fire….” in 2011. Always smiling when I saw you, always love, always good energy, always showing respect……..Always Hip-Hop. Today is a sad day man….a very sad day. Rest Easy Mac Miller….. Gone too soon, lil bro. Love you always. #MostDope

A post shared by 9th Wonder (@9thwonder) on

More than anything, Mac Miller’s death reminds me of how accepting Black culture – hip hop specifically – is of people outside of Blackness, yet it remains exceptionally “gate-keepy” about people within Blackness who happen to be outside of the “acceptable” heteronormative standards. Ugh. I know I shouldn’t be connecting Mac Miller’s untimely death to the upholding of heteronormative standards within Black culture, but it is just so blatant at times like this. So many of the people who shared photos of personal stories and pictures of Mac Miller have also said some extremely homophobic lyrics and remain intent on ascribing specific, stereotypical gender roles to women.

Young MA Photo by Santiago Felipe / Getty Images

I think about how Young MA, who in my opinion can kill any male rapper’s career with 16 bars, sits down for an interview in 2018 and has to answer questions about her sexual identity.

Big Freedia Source: Maarten de Boer / Getty

I think about Big Freedia and how she has been responsible for dragging Nah’lins bounce music to mainstream radio, yet, she is still begging for 10 seconds in a video with more than 119 million views. The LGBTQIA community is pushed so far from the center, pressed up against the margins, that I cannot even name any other LGBTQIA artists except Big Freedia. It’s sad.

The most beautiful thing about Black culture is that we embrace everybody and anybody, no application needed. We just leave the door open and let them all come in. Click To Tweet

Recently, Tony Yayo, former member of 50 cents’ G-Unit rap clique, was ranting online because some blog dropped a story that maybe he might have been involved with a transwoman. The trans identity is still so stigmatized in 2018 that a rapper we haven’t heard nor discussed in at least ten years can become the leading story on gossip blogs because he maybe, might have, allegedly had some kind of interaction with a woman who happens to be trans. Y’all don’t think that’s crazy? I mean Black lives matter right? Africans got loaded on ships, and Harriet Tubman took us to freedom, and we overcame, and Dr. King had a dream, and Rosa Parks didn’t give up her seat, and Malcolm X said Black women are the most disrespected, and Marsha P Johnson started the Stonewall riot, and Angela Davis got arrested, and Lebron, Serena, and Colin are the faces of Nike. It’s us, all of us right? So, how come it doesn’t feel like that?

The most beautiful thing about Black culture is that we embrace everybody and anybody, no application needed. We just leave the door open and let them all come in. We let Miley Cyrus twerk across the stage. We let Justin Timberlake go multi-platinum, even after he did Janet Jackson like that, because he wore those braids that time. We let Iggy Azalea sell records after she confirmed she’s a runaway slave master. We let Veronica Vega say nigga multiple times and still watched Love and Hip Hop Miami. We let them moonwalk, dougie, hit the superman, millie rock all over our blocks, and that’s what makes us special.

Except, we only do all that when they’re not Black and gay.

Comments

comments

Entertainment

Kanye West Isn’t Your Father

mm

Published

on

Fox News

Disclaimer: This is the opinion of one young writer, and does not reflect the views and opinions of KingOfReads.com or its proprietor.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Kanye West’s music. I was born in 1994, so Kanye arrived on the scene at a time when I was a developing Queer boy. I had so many feelings, these uncontrollable hormonal emotions, that Kanye’s music really spoke to in some ways. That said, he was trash. Like most of our heroes, he was trash. But we ate it up, didn’t we? Now, some of us have outgrown him. Some of us need to grow up.

Kanye has, yet again, let his ego do the talking. Whether you believe he is serious or not, he wants us to believe that he is running for president. He also wants you to believe he loves Black people. It’s dangerous for you to believe either. Kanye has a non-Black wife, whom he has allowed to scold and threaten the Black people running the foundation named after his Black mother. Kanye was (is?) an ardent supporter of Donald Trump. Kanye implied that slavery was a choice. Kanye’s given you every indication that his interests lie with his current state of mind and y’all (spelled: Black cishet men) ignore the fact that said interests consistently cause harm. That makes you complicit. So let’s talk about it.

Kanye Sunday Service

As JustLatasha once said, “I’m sorry your fathers never came home.” Kanye is not your long-lost Daddy. Neither is Nas, Jay-Z, J. Cole, or Robert Kelly. These men are businessmen. Their allegiance is to the money they make. Don’t get me wrong. I’m anti-capitalist, but I understand that Black people need money to survive, and in order to leverage capital for progress against oppressive systems. All these men have enough money to survive for several hundred years. Yet, instead of redistributing it or supporting the work of people who have been fighting toward Black liberation for decades, they sprinkle a few tax-deductible dollars into organizations that may or may not actually appropriate these funds correctly, or give you a soundbite that makes you think they’re on your side. Then, they turn around and say things like “we’ve moved past kneeling” and “400 years?! That sounds like a choice.” They spew rhetoric, not backed by facts or even well-thought-out opinion, that undermines people who have done the reading, who have done the research required to participate in the discussion. The problem is, at every turn, Black cishet men want to believe that they’re “playing chess not checkers” when it’s clear they aren’t even on the board.

Y’all have this faith in these men, as if they somehow are providing something substantive in your life. Let’s take a look at a few of the “chess” moves Kanye performed today. He told you vaccines were “the mark of the beast”. He said one of the police officers who aided in the murder of George Floyd didn’t deserve to be in jail. He implied that God was punishing us with COVID-19 and that prayer was all that was needed to stop it. But when he was asked about taxes, this man who’s worth more than some small countries said “I haven’t done enough research on that yet. I will research that with the strongest experts that serve God and come back with the best solution.” And the worst part is that he doesn’t have to answer for any of this. You’ll all do it for him. You’ll defend him until the day he dies because you see him as a patriarch, a father-figure, here to guide you through life in the way your father never could. Guess what, Tiger, daddy isn’t really out for a pack of smokes. He’s in Wyoming with his White wife and a whole lot of money he doesn’t want your dirty little fingers to touch.

Do you feel attacked? You should. Toyin is dead. Tony McDade is dead. Trans women are dying at such a rapid pace, I have lost track. George Floyd’s gasping death is still playing in my mind, and Breonna Taylor’s killers are still not answering for their crimes. These are our chess pieces. You, not Kanye, should be moving them, but your fingers are too preoccupied defending a man who doesn’t know you exist and never wanted to.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Floyd Mayweather, Mayweather Promotions May Not Be Doing So Well

Published

on

Serial woman-beater, boxer, and founder of Mayweather Promotions, Floyd Mayweather, may be in financial troubles right now according to many sources close to the athlete.

It was revealed Tuesday that Mayweather Promotions, the boxing promotional company named after and started by “Money Mayweather,” was among the many thousands of small businesses nationwide that applied for financial assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program. 

Let’s quickly recap: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a federal loan program spawned from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country. Essentially, businesses of a certain size are eligible for a 100% forgivable loan if they continue to pay all their employees. Protecting the paycheck, right?

Whose paycheck?

It is estimated that Floyd Mayweather made over $300 million in 2019 alone and over $915 million from 2010 – 2017. For the 2010’s, he was the highest paid athlete in the world, so why did his company ask for between $350k and $1 million in economic aid? Why is he charging $999 for personalized shoutouts? 

Via Instagram, Floyd joined the website, Cameo (think: “OnlyFans” for celebrities), and is charging folks the almost-$1k fee for custom messages. Pretty surprising for a guy who nicknamed himself “Money,” has been unabashedly vocal about his money, and frequently posts obscene pictures of himself posing with unbelievable amounts of cash.

During the coronavirus pandemic, more than 40 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits with most receiving $600 or less per week. While many have worried where their next meal will come from, where their rent money will come from, Floyd has made business moves. Check out his recent posts to see what we mean.

While many Americans have been irrevocably f*cked by our good sis ‘Rona, Mayweather posted his closet.

View this post on Instagram

Another part of my closet.

A post shared by Floyd Mayweather (@floydmayweather) on

But his company, Mayweather Promotions, can ask for federal assistance? FAFSA, but for businesses?

Eat the rich.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Kanye West Rambles Through an Interview About His Presidential Run

mm

Published

on

Kanye West’s Twitter announcement on Independence day confused a lot of people. There was no record of him registering to run, his only two endorsements seemed to be Kim Kardashian and Elon Musk, and… well… it’s July. It all just seemed like him trolling the masses again. Well, I guess Forbes’ Randall Lane wasn’t content to wait on further information, because they went ahead and called him up to ask him what’s tea. The results were a mixed, babbling bag.

The actual interview was 4-hours long and Forbes picked as much out as I’m sure their poor servers could handle, but the picture is still one of a man who is only clear that he is a Christian man. He claims that God is the one who chooses the president, that God needs to be let back into schools, and implies that COVID-19 is the result of us making God mad. “We pray. We pray for the freedom,” he said, “It’s all about God. We need to stop doing things that make God mad.”

He also seems rather paranoid, and even that is threaded through his religious views. On vaccines, seemingly as preventative care against coronavirus, he said “[t]hat’s the mark of the beast. They want to put chips inside of us, they want to do all kinds of things, to make it where we can’t cross the gates of heaven.”

There’s a lot to process here, but the gist is that Kanye is portraying himself as serious, but seems unable to give much in the way of answers that don’t relate back to God. We’ll let y’all know when he starts making sense.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending