Rapper Jay-Z has sparked controversy again, this time from the far-left.
The hip-hop mogul streamed an exclusive concert online last week for his new music streaming service, Tidal, The Wrap reported Friday.
In one freestyle song, he rapped, “You know when I work, I ain’t your slave, right? You know I ain’t shucking and jiving and high-fiving, and you know this ain’t back in the days, right? Well I can’t tell how the way they killed Freddie Gray, right? Shot down Mike Brown how they did Tray, right?”
The verse prompted an angry retort from social activist and author Boyce D. Watkins, who said the names of Gray, Martin and Brown’s names are “sacred.”
“He’s invoking the names of Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, which have become somewhat sacred in the black community, and you’re invoking those into this conversation you’re having about whether your multimillion-dollar corporation is going to be successful or not?” Watkins told The Wrap. “I think that that unfortunately can come off as somewhat disingenuous, because I don’t recall Jay Z ever really being that vocal, that irate over any issue that did not involve himself.”
It smacked as a bit hypocritical for Watkins–who calls himself “the people’s scholar” but uses his website to sell books, podcasts and online courses to the black community–to call out Jay-Z for his commercial success.
Watkins’ website charges $49 for a course called “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about College,” saying it offers students, “an edge over your classmates” by affording them “your own personal professor to tell you all the secrets!”
Jay-Z and his wife Beyoncé are billionaires, but they generally keep quiet about their social activism and philanthropy, while Watkins uses his social activism platform for the crass commercialism he condemns.
“Whatever his little corporate beef is right now, if that beef were not occurring, would Jay Z still be pulling out the race card on this issue?” Watkins said.
That’s really a bold statement from a man who makes his living by pulling out the race card.