The legendary rapper Jay-Z has revealed that he was a never a fan of the Occupy Wall Street movement because he had no idea what they stood for.
In an interview with Zadie Smith of New York Times, the rapper spoke candidly about the Occupy movement and his belief that the movement lacked focus, adding:
“I think all those things need to really declare themselves a bit more clearly. Because when you just say that ‘the 1 percent is that,’ that’s not true. Yeah, the 1 percent that’s robbing people, and deceiving people, these fixed mortgages and all these things, and then taking their home away from them, that’s criminal, that’s bad. Not being an entrepreneur. This is free enterprise. This is what America is built on.”
Although the rapper’s clothing company, Roc A Wear, sold ‘Occupy Wall Street’ message t-shirts, none of the profit was donated to the Occupy movement, which drew a lot of criticism from the protest leaders.
Occupy Wall Street spokesman Patrick Bruner was quoted as saying in response to the t-shirts: “Naturally there will be some bloodsuckers who come out of the woodwork.”
The backlash led his company to change the message to ‘Occupy All Streets.’
Prior to yanking the shirts from the website, Rocawear released a statement which read in part:
“Rocawear strongly encourages all forms of constructive expression, whether it be artistic, political or social. ‘Occupy All Streets’ is our way of reminding people that there is change to be made everywhere, not just on Wall Street. At this time we have not made an official commitment to monetarily support the movement.”
Update: In response to the Jay-Z interview, Russell Simmons wrote an open letter addressing the rappers’ stance on Occupy Wall Street. Here is an excerpt from that letter where Simmons calls out Jay-Z to rethink his stance on the Occupy movement:
“So, Jay, here’s the deal. You’re rich and I’m rich. But, today it’s close to impossible to be you or me and get out of Marcy Projects or Hollis, Queens without changing our government to have our politicians work for the people who elect them and not the special interests and corporations that pay them. Because we know that these special interests are nothing special at all. In fact, they spend millions of dollars destroying the fabric of the black community and make billions of dollars in return.”
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