We were all pretty pissed when Geraldo Rivera lashed out at Kendrick Lamar’s performance of his track Alright at the BET awards atop a police car, saying “Hip Hop has done more damage to young African Americans than racism in recent years.”
It doesn’t take a thesis to understand that this guy is just terrible, with a history of similar ridiculous statements, but Kendrick Lamar has taken the time to set the record straight anyway.
“This is us expressing ourselves,” he told TMZ, “Rather [than] going out here and doing the murders myself, I want to express myself in a positive light the same way other artists are doing. Not going out in the streets, go in the booth and talking about the situation and hoping these kids can find some type of influence on it in a positive manner. Coming from these streets and coming from these neighborhoods, we’re taking our talents and putting ’em inside the studio.”
The video for Alright dropped this week, and is not only a strong politically commentary, but also a visual masterpiece. In a recent Guardian interview Kendrick said “These are issues that if you come from that environment it’s inevitable to speak on… It’s already in your blood because I am Trayvon Martin, you know. I’m all of these kids. It’s already implanted in your brain to come out your mouth as soon as you’ve seen it on the TV.”
In his criticism Rivera honed in on the line “We hate po-po, Wanna kill us dead in the street for sure” to accentuate his rhetoric about raps negative influence. However he has picked the wrong guy to mess with. Kendrick has expressed his convictions to bring attention to the issues going on around him, and doesn’t shy away from difficult content.
“It’s really just about integrity. We all like to have fun. I like to have fun, too. But where do you stop and say, ‘You know what? There’s actually some real shit going on out there that people can relate to more than any singalong I can bring to the table.”
We don’t want to get into the hypocrisy of a middle aged, white, rich TV guy telling young black people about racism, but in this debate, we know whose side we’re on.