President Obama has everyone talking with his endorsement of same-sex marriage. But emphasis has been given to what the African American community thinks about his decision. Pastors in the black church are being increasingly vocal about withdrawing from the president because of his decision, but major black leaders and the hip-hop community are standing behind him.
Public Enemy lead man, Chuck D, is in agreement with Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Jay-Z on their backing of the president on the same-sex marriage issue. Even though his group had expressed the seemingly “homophobic” views of the black community in the past, the very same community has evolved and so has his views. He told the Grio:
“To me, win or lose, I would like a person who is honest about their opinion, and not just for popularity’s sake. For that reason, I think [President Obama’s] move on gay marriage was inevitable and necessary. It’s not a political move. Eventually, society has to say it right. We can’t deprive someone else of their freedom.”
But, while his opinion as a hip hop star and lead arts community advocate holds weight, he feels that Jay-Z is the man on deck and he should use his lyrics wisely:
“I think people look at Jay-Z as being a spokesperson for hip-hop and rap, and I think that he should be. He’s bold,” says Chuck. “My term though is ‘catch the throne.’ When we’re ‘watching the throne,’ who is going to watch the people going under?…Bottom line, I think if Jay-Z should be a spokesperson, he’s gonna have to come to task. His songs have to reflect the wit that he has as a smart human being. He’s a smart dude. His music should be something to hang our hats on.”
He wants the music to go back to its grassroots because the message of the community has been lost while trying to support commercially larger artists like Jay-Z and Kanye West. It appears a hip-hop roundtable is in order to refocus and reorganize the popular genre. Just like the black church, hip-hop has its own influence on the thoughts of the community.
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