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Lil' Wayne on Nightline.

You’re Wasting Your Time Asking Lil’ Wayne About Black Lives Matter


Image courtesy of Pretty Brown, Creative Commons license.

Quit wasting your time asking this “rich nigga” to offer social commentary about anything.

Honestly, this conversation between Lil’ Wayne and ABC’s Nightline about Black Lives Matter was over before it even began. As I’ve pointed out before, Wayne and similar upper-class Black folks who are far removed from the reality of their working-class counterparts signify “unfinished business” in the black community.

Time — and Wayne’s propensity to serve us more ignorant statements about social issues — continue to validate this thesis.

Related: Lil’Wayne, “New Black” Philosophy and The Complexity of Racial Identity

For the past several weeks, Wayne has been traveling the country making the obligatory rounds on television and radio programs to promote his upcoming album, Tha Carter V, and his new book about his jail stint at New York’s Rikers Island prison. Unfortunately — for him AND for us — he’s had to field a few questions about important current events that are happening in the world that he would rather not concern himself with. You know — questions about racial bias, police violence and anything touching on black progress. Questions that require applying one’s critical-thinking skills.

About a month ago, Wayne exhibited his obliviousness before the world when he appeared on Skip and Shannon Undisputed and responded to a question about the motives behind the anthem protest, saying that racism was over because a white officer saved his life. What that has to do with systemic racism, we’ll never know.

Just in case it wasn’t clear from his comments in that venue about where he stands on the movement for Black Lives — hell, the movement for any human life outside of his own — the rapper, known for club-bangers like “A Millie,” doubled down on his position about BLM when the subject came up on Nightline.

“Don’t come at me with that dumb-ass [s–t], ma’am,” he started. Well, at least he was polite enough to temper his dismissal by saying “ma’am.”

He expressed offense at the fact that police brutality is called police brutality. Were it up to him, the interactions between police and black suspects that escalate to violence and murder wouldn’t have a name.

“That just sounds weird, I don’t know, that you put a name on it. It’s not a name, it’s not ‘whatever, whatever,’ it’s somebody got shot by a policeman for a [f–ked] up reason,” Wayne said.

He conceded to something most of us already know: money insulates him from racism. But not only does money protect him from the ugly reality of racism, the fact that he has so much of it is proof — to him — that America is not a racist country.

“I am a young black rich [motherf–ker],” he told Nightline interviewer Linsey Davis. “If that don’t let you know that America understand black [motherf–kers] matter these days, I don’t know what it is.”

He wasn’t done. Asked by Davis if he felt connected to BLM, Wayne responded:

“I don’t feel connected to a damn thing that ain’t got nothin’ to do with me. If you do, you crazy as [s–t]. Not the camera, you. Feeling connected to something that ain’t got nothin’ to do with you? If it ain’t got nothin’ to do with me, I ain’t connected to it. I ain’t no [f–kin’] politician.”

Listen, I know we’re a country obsessed with celebrity culture. I’m not here to lecture anyone or present a critique of that lifestyle. What I will say, for the moment, is this: if we absolutely must have a rapper’s opinion about Black Lives Matter, if we’re that desperate for golden nuggets of wisdom or social commentary from a hip-hop star, can we at least save our questions for J. Cole, Kendrick or T.I. and stop wasting our time asking a “rich nigga” like Lil’ Wayne about matters that he could give two cents about?

Watch the full interview below.


Antwan is an educator, cultural critic, actor, and writer for Wear Your Voice Mag (WYV), where he focuses on the dynamics of class, race, gender, politics, and pop culture. Prior to joining the team at WYV, he was an adjunct professor in the African American Studies Department at Valdosta State University in southern Georgia, where he taught African American Literature. He has traveled the U.S. and U.K. showcasing a fifty-five minute, one-person play titled Whitewash, which focuses on the state of black men in the post-civil rights era. Antwan received his B.A. in English and Literature from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and M.A. in African American Studies from University of California, Los Angeles. He is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and NAACP theater nominee.

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