Kendrick Lamar Responds to Fox’s Geraldo Calling His Music Harmful to Black Culture
Several days after Geraldo Rivera repeated his usual shtick that “hip hop is more harmful than racism” in light of Kendrick Lamar‘s politically-charged BET Awards performance of his song “Alright,” the rapper responded with the exact bemusement one might expect.
Lamar performed his latest album’s fourth single on Sunday evening, using props like a police car as part of his act. (The song’s sprawling music video was released on Tuesday, featuring many of the same themes about police brutality, black culture, and Lamar’s eternal focus on hope for ghettoized communities.) Naturally, the professional talkers of Fox’s The Five took great exception to Lamar’s performance, singling out the line “And we hate po-po / Wanna kill us dead in the street fo sho” as inflammatory and, yup, you guessed it, “anti-police.”
“This is why I say that hip-hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years,” Rivera said of Lamar’s performance.
For the uninitiated, much ink has been spilled about Lamar’s second full-length album, To Pimp a Butterfly, because of its almost scholarly-like dissection of complicated issues facing the rapper and black culture alike: Racism, police brutality, the perils of being in the spotlight, internal violence in the black community.
A perplexed Lamar responded to Rivera, et al, via TMZ:
How can you take a song that’s about hope and turn it into hatred? … The overall message is, “we gon’ be alright.” It’s not the message of “I want to kill people.” […] Hip-hop is not the problem. Our reality is the problem of this situation. This is our music. This is us expressing ourselves. Rather [than] going out here and doing the murders myself, I want to express myself in a positive light the same way other artists are doing. Not going out in the streets, go in the booth and talking about the situation, and hoping these kids can find some type of influence on it in a positive manner. Coming from these streets and coming from these neighborhoods, we’re taking our talents and putting them inside the studio.
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