Macklemore Explains How White Privilege Has Affected His Career

Over the past year, the topic of race and racism in America has been the focal point of many conversations. Between the events in Ferguson, Eric Garner, and most recently the killing of the two NYPD officers, many hip hop artists have voiced their thoughts and support for the communities affected across the country. Recently, Macklemore visited Hot 97 and was a guest on Ebro in the Morning where the discussion turned to the issues discussed above.

Throughout the conversation, Macklemore spoke openly and honestly on these topics from his perspective as a member of the hip hop community — and as a white rapper. From Complex:

“For me, as a white dude—as a white rapper, I’m like, ’How do I participate in this conversation? How do I get involved to a level where I’m not co-opting the movement, or I’m not making it about me, but also realizing the platform and reach that I have, and doing it in an authentic way?’

“I was talking to somebody the other day. They said to me, ‘Silence is an action.’ It’s my privilege that I can be silent about this issue. I’m tired of being silent about it. I’ve been silent for a long time about it. I didn’t want to mess up. I didn’t want to offend anybody. It is so imperative that we have this race conversation in America if we’re going to progress… Racism is uncomfortable to talk about. White people, we can just turn off the TV when we’re sick of talking about race.”

Another highlight of the conversation finds Macklemore questioning the “safeness” of his music due to white privilege.

“Why am I safe? Why can I cuss and have a parental advisory sticker on my album, and still parents are like, ‘You’re the only rapper I let my kids listen to’?” Why can I wear a hoodie, and not be a thug? Why can I sag my pants, and not be a gangbanger? Why am I on Ellen’s couch? Why am I on Good Morning America? If I was black, what would my drug addiction look like?”

“Parents buy your album because they see your face… To me, the music industry is just—the privilege that exists in the music industry is just a greater symptom of the privilege in America. This is just a byproduct. People see me, they resonate with me—America is predominantly white—there’s relatability there.” (Via)

The video’s running time is a bit over an hour. The conversation between Ebro, Peter Rosenberg, and Macklemore explores a few tangents regarding the overlying topic of race and racism in America, including the recent beef between Iggy Azalea and Azaelia Banks and how that relates to the cultural appropriation of black music throughout our country’s history. Whether you’re a fan of his music or not, this Macklemore interview is definitely worth a listen.

On a personal note: I’ve always found Macklemore to be quite talented but damn, Kendrick Lamar really did deserve that Grammy.

(Source: Complex / Ebro in the Morning)