Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Macklemore Talks Race in the Music Industry: ''I Do Believe That I Need to Know My Place'' As a White Rapper

Macklemore is the latest hip-hop star speaking out on the topic of race in rap music.

Following the recent heated Iggy Azalea-Azalea Banks feud about white and black rappers in the industry, Macklemore gave his thoughts on the topic during a Hot 97 radio interview this week.

"For me, as a white dude--as a white rapper--I'm like, how do I participate in this conversation? How do I participate?" the 31-year-old Grammy winner said. "How do I get involved on a level where I'm not coopting the movement or I'm not making it about me, but also realizing the platform I have and the reach that I have, and doing it in an authentic, genuine way. Because race is uncomfortable to talk about. White people, we can just turn off the TV when we're sick of talking about race. We can be like, 'No, I'm done.'"

"It does not work that way for everybody," Macklemore added. "White 'liberal' people want to be nice. We don't want to mess up. We don't want to be racists. We want to be like, 'We're post-racial and we have a black president and we don't need to talk about white privilege. It's all good, right?' It's not the case."

Macklemore went on to partially credit his success as a rapper to "white privilege" in America. "Why am I safe? Why can I cuss on a record, have a parental advisory sticker on the cover of my album, yet parents are still like, 'You're the only rap I let my kids listen to,'" he said. "Why can I wear a hoodie and not be labeled a thug?...The privilege that exists in the music industry is just a greater symptom of the privilege that exists in America. There's no difference."

As for white rappers being accepted into the hip-hop community, Macklemore said, "You need to know your place in the culture. Are you contributing or are you taking? Are you using it for your own advantage or are you contributing? I saw a tweet that said, 'Hip hop was birthed out of the civil rights movement.' This is a culture that came from pain and oppression. It was the byproduct [of white oppression]. We can say we've come a long way since the late '70s and early '80s, but we haven't. Just because there's been more successful white rappers, you cannot disregard where this culture came from and our place in it as white people. This is not my culture to begin with. As much as I have honed my craft...I do believe that I need to know my place."

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