Actor Lakeith Stanfield is probably best known for his roles in films like Sorry To Bother You and shows like Atlanta, but the 28-year-old Riverside native is ready to stretch out artistically by making a rap album. The first single, “Automatic,” is a head-banging indictment of the ills that plague Black culture in Stanfield’s eyes and judging from the Youtube visualizer art, he’s got one target in particular on his mind: Popular radio host Charlamagne Tha God.
Casting Charlamagne as a classic Sambo archetype, Stanfield goes on the warpath against Charlamagne and the negative stereotypes that are often portrayed by rappers: “I’m Black/ I’m Atlanta/ I’m the Hall Of Fame,” he spits. “Insecure, you’re afraid/ You’re a Charlagmagne.” As to why the friction between the two has reached the point of diss tracks, the two men’s beef stems from an Instagram post Stanfield shared to Instagram — then deleted — calling out media outlets he sees as detrimental to Black people, including Charlamagne.
According to The Root, Stanfield wrote, “It’s a fact that a lot of these platforms are usually or tend to be feeding grounds for negative reinforcement toward BLACK ‘nonconformists.’ They bolster faux vanity and hold a white supremacists scope over black men and women often highlighting negative attributes and downplaying mind-expanding ones. They serve as bottomless coward consumption pits and digital, audio, or otherwise slave mentality museums.”
Among the outlets he panned were The Shade Room, Lipstick Alley, WorldStarHipHop, and The Breakfast Club, all popular forums for gossip, debate, and in the case of WorldStar, fight videos. However, Charlamagne was quick to return fire on his own show, saying, “You can say any and everything about me. I’ve damn near heard it all about myself online. But what you won’t do is ever fix your lips to call one of my platforms, especially The Breakfast Club, anti-Black. I strive every day to be the perfect balance of ratchetness and righteousness. There isn’t another show out there that goes from Byron Allen to Blac Youngsta like it’s nothing. You tell me a show where the guest list goes from the Honorable Louis Farrakhan to 21 Savage.”
Stanfield apparently replied again in another now-deleted post, pointing out how Charlamagne’s response ties into and bolsters his own point. “You just illustrated that sometimes you bring good guests, sometimes you bring bad guests,” he said. “And that’s kind of what I hinted to in the subtext of what you just read. Basically what I was saying was outlets like yours have a tendency to lean towards highlighting negative things. And that’s true. And if you don’t understand that we’re engaged in war — that it’s a war to be Black in this bitch — that means you ain’t on the team moving things forward. Then you’re against the goddamn team. Period.”
Now that Stanfield has escalated to the point of throwing Charlamagne’s name into derogatory rap lines, it’s probably safe to say his album, Self Control, won’t get much play on Power 105.1. Meanwhile, he wasn’t the only celebrity to call out “Black” publications recently; a few weeks ago, Nicki Minaj went on her own tirade about the coverage she received in Black media — although, in her case, her arguments were a little more complicated to unpack.