The bombastic rapper Lil Wayne argued that “Black Lives Matter” is a false issue — that black lives do indeed matter in American society, at least from his perspective, and that the movement rests on anger at disconnected instances of police violence.
“I don’t even know why 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***ed up reason,” Wayne said in a controversial Nightline interview. These comments suggest the rapper considers the police shootings which inspired the movement as unconnected and not motivated by institutional racism, as Black Lives Matter activists claim. He attacked the idea of institutional racism, noting his own success as proof that America is not racist.
“I am a young, black, rich motherf***er,” the rapper continued. “If that don’t let you know that America understand black motherf***ers matter these days, I don’t know what it is. Don’t come at me with that dumb s**t, ma’am.” Pointing to the cameraman, he noted, “That man white; he filmin’ me.”
“My life matter, especially to my bitches,” the rapper declared.
This is not the first controversial statement Wayne has made about race in America. In a Fox Sports interview from September, the rapper declared that there is “no such thing as racism.” In the Nightline interview, he said he did not regret that remark.
Wayne also added that he didn’t “feel connected” to “a damn thing that ain’t got nothin’ to do with me.” He insisted that the movement fell into that category, and that if his interviewer felt connected to something that didn’t have anything to do with her, she would be “crazy as s**t.”
Then, as an example of something to which he indeed was connected, the rapper pulled a red cloth out of his back pocket. “I’m connected to this flag right f***ing here, because I’m connected. I’m a gangbanger now.”
Despite the indelicate language and Wayne’s gangsterism, he might have a point or two. There is no proof that the instances of police violence against black people which inspired the Black Lives Matter movement were connected or indeed racially motivated. While police may disproportionately target black people for increased scrutiny, the Black Lives Matter movement has inspired a newly divisive emphasis on race with some negative consequences.
Indeed, one Black Lives Matter leader abandoned the movement because the official organization opposed important educational reforms.
It is important that not all black celebrities embrace the movement, no matter the legitimacy of its claims.
Watch the video on the next page.
Lil Wayne says he doesn't feel connected to Black Lives Matter movement. Watch tonight on Nightline at 12:35am ET. pic.twitter.com/28eBGfpSja
— Nightline (@Nightline) November 2, 2016