Outspoken cultural critic and Chicago rap firebrand Vic Mensa doesn’t bite his tongue for any reason, but as it turns out, his prose game is every bit as sharp as his biting, insightful rhymes. In a lengthy, heartfelt op-ed for Time magazine, Vic detailed his recent trip to Palestine — where he also filmed his poignant music video for “We Could Be Free” from his much-feted debut, The Autobiography — and compared the suffering and oppression he found to the disenfranchisement and terror he’s previously experienced as a Black person in America.
“I write to inform all those who will hear me of the treacherous denial of human rights to the Palestinian people living under occupation,” he explains, calling the “parallels between the black American experience and the Palestinian experience… overwhelming.”
Detailing brutal treatment of Palestinian children by the IDF, Vic made note of the similarities between the IDF’s tactics and those of the American police against people of color in “inner cities” from Ferguson, MO to Chicago, IL.
For once in my life I didn’t feel like the n—-r. As I sat comfortably at a coffee shop, gawking at a group of Israeli soldiers harassing a Palestinian teenager, it was clear who was the n—-r. My American passport, ironically, had awarded me a higher position in the social hierarchy of Jerusalem than it did in my hometown of Chicago. As insensitive as it sounds, it was almost a feeling of relief to be out of oppression’s crosshairs for a moment, albeit a very short one.
Clearly, the experience had a profound effect on Vic’s outlook. While he was already quite candid about any number of subjects from institutional racism to gun control, his previous observations were limited to his music or interviews. With his words in Time, it looks like he wants to expand his platform and prove that — in the words of Dead Prez — it’s bigger than hip-hop