Hov is #WithHer? Yikes.
Jay Z Campaigns for Hillary Clinton. Interesting.
By Jaylin Paschal
Last time I wrote about hip hop icon and pop culture phenomenon Shawn "Jay Z" Carter, it was in praise of his collaboration with dream hampton and Molly Crabapple. The three teamed up to present "History of the War on Drugs: From Prohibition to Gold Rush," which addressed double standards in the criminal justice system regarding drug violations. Essentially, the production articulated an eloquent, personal dissertation on mass incarceration from Jay Z's point of view.
Read my article on this project for Howard University's The Hilltop here.
So, as you can probably imagine, it took me by surprise to see that Hov is holding a concert for a Clinton in Cleveland as a "get out the vote" campaign aimed at black youth after protesting mass incarceration. The Clintons are the mass incarceration couple. The dynamic duo, specializing in locking niggas up. Infamous for demonizing the victims of their system, and forgiven for half-apologizing and wholly justifying it decades later.
Now, of course, I'm ecstatic to see any and everyone collaborate against Donald Trump. Even if that means you're with her.
But we can't ignore the irony here. We just can't.
Jay Z, who has had his fair share of experience in the drug game--who would've been described by Secretary Clinton as a "superpredator"-- is going to look into a crowd of young black men and women and tell them to elect a Clinton. Jay Z, who just reminded us of all of the policies which disenfranchised and disproportionately impacted the black community under the Clintons, is going to organize a GOTV campaign on the behalf of a Clinton. He's going to tell a demographic/community/minority group which was devastated by regulations created and extended through the Clintons' adaptation of the War on Drugs to throw their money, support, and vote toward a Clinton.
Most of the young, black Americans who vote are going to vote for Clinton. But this is hardly consent to be governed by one. This is not an enthusiastic yes. We're voting for her as a means of survival. We are picking our poison. This is not a campaign-concert type deal. Nigga, it's not lit. I'm not trying to turn up as I vote for Clinton. We are not excited. We are not eager. Let's cut the GOTV bull and just swallow this pill.
Hov has never shied away from politics, nor has he ever refrained from social commentary and criticism. He knows better than throwing support behind dangerous candidates. He knows better than minimum sentencing and three strike rules. He knows better than flustered Hillary's defending racist Bill's and flustered Bill's defending racist Hillary's. He knows better than influencing all of his fans to trust that this least-worst candidate has their best interest at heart. Which makes this all the more unusual. We know that he knows how to mobilize voters and/or political action without selling out. Yet, I can't help but feel like that's what he's done. Considering that this election was between two evils, it almost would've been better for him to remain nonpartisan with work similar to that of Gold Rush. (Note: Nonpartisanship and neutrality are not the same thing.) Like I said, we were already voting for Clinton. We don't need to party about it. Any celebration, concert, or event of the sort will be held to celebrate keeping Trump out. Not getting Clinton in.
I'm trying not to be critical, but I'm a critic. Perhaps I'm being unfair. There are definitely variables I didn't take the time to explore in this post, as I found them redundant and thought they went without saying. It can be argued that Clinton has truly changed her views, or even that the outcome of those policies was not the intention of them. Maybe the sting is just particularly harsh because Ava DuVernay's 13th is still fresh on the heart and mind. Some may suggest that Jay Z needed to say that he was voting, and that it would be for her/against Trump to encourage the non-voting protest demographic to get to the polls. All of these are valid points.
Nonetheless, I get it. I do. We're between a rock and a hard place. Ultimately, the end goal is to ensure that the successor to President Obama is not a raging, tiny-handed narcissist, right?
But the ends don't always justify the means.
Cue "Hard Knock Life."