It's been nearly two weeks since George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering black teenager Trayvon Martin, but the verdict continues to draw heated reaction from across the country.
One of the latest responses came from Shawn Carter -- a rapper better known by his stage name of Jay-Z -- who declared that everyone knows the verdict “was wrong,” and it left him “really angry” because the racism in America is “so blatant.”
Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake dedicated a song to Trayvon Martin during their concert at Yankee Stadium Friday night.
In a video captured by a member of the audience, as the couple began their last song of the evening - "Forever Young" - Jay-Z yelled to the crowd, "Everybody put a cell phone and light it up. Let's light the sky for Trayvon Martin tonight in here":
Egotistical musicians often exaggerate their political influence, none moreso than the nattering, narcissistic rapper Kanye West. He has compared himself in global stature to Apple founder Steve Jobs, and has titled his latest album “Yeesus.”
Rolling Stone magazine has posted part of a West song titled “I Am a God,” where West raps that Jesus is the “Most High,” but he’s a “close high.”
Rapper Armando Pérez, better known by his stage name Pitbull, used the recent dust-up over liberal celebrities Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Beyoncé Knowles traveling to Cuba to call attention to the awful conditions faced by people in his homeland.
Responding to an earlier “open letter” by Carter in which he defended his trip to the communist dictatorship, Pérez did not condemn the musical couple. Instead, he called attention to the suffering of the Cuban people and how so many have died trying to come to freedom in America.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) had some harsh words Sunday for Jay-Z and Beyoncé's recent trip to Cuba.
Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Rubio said, "I think it’s hypocritical of the people who took that trip because they didn't go down there and meet with some of the people that are actually in trouble today" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
When music superstars Jay-Z -- whose real name is Shawn Carter -- and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter celebrated their fifth anniversary with a vacation to Cuba, the couple was criticized on Twitter by Stacey Dash, who asked: “Do you care that The Jay Z"s have taken the capital you have given them and funded a communist oppressive regime?”
The African-American actress's question drew many angry responses, ranging from suggestions that she “go die” to calling her “a modern day slave girl whore 4 white men.”
The journalist at Good Morning America once again showed how unserious they are when it comes to challenging Barack Obama. On Friday, the reporters covered the latest on rapper Jay-Z's trip to communist Cuba in an amused tone. Lifestyle anchor Lara Spencer featured no Republican critics of the international visit. Instead, she went to Rolling Stone's editor for comment on the entertainer's new song about the trip.
Simon Vozick-Levinson hyperbolically proclaimed, "[Jay-Z is]a brilliant lyricist. He's one of the great poets of our age." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] In the new song, the singer insists that he received "White House clearance" for the excursion to Cuba, a place American citizens aren't allowed to visit. Although Spencer admitted that Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce "supported" Obama's campaign in 2012, she didn't explain what that meant. The musician raised over $4 million for the Democrat's reelection bid.
Lapdog journalist Josh Elliott on Tuesday offered no skepticism about a controversial trip Beyonce and Jay-Z took to Cuba. The Good Morning America news reader insisted that there was nothing troubling about the fact that the music power couple, who raised over $4 million dollars for Barack Obama's reelection, received special permission to visit the communist country of Cuba. (American tourists are barred from traveling there.)
Elliott reassured, "Meanwhile, an uproar over Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba may be much ado about nothing." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] After noting that the visit drew "criticism," he insisted that no laws were violated and added, "The trip was reportedly approved by the Treasury Department as a cultural visit." Elliott never mentioned the financial help Beyonce and Jay Z provided Obama, nor did he ask why the vacation was approved. In contrast, Hoda Kotb on NBC's Today deemed the trip "controversial." NBC reporter Natalie Morales offered far more skepticism: "New questions and outrage from lawmakers this morning following Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba."
On Nov. 28, 2012, Forbes released a report on the 25 highest paid musicians of the year. Ironically enough, four of this year’s top earners were outspoken supporters of the Occupy Wall Street Movement last year. Apparently they didn’t see hypocrisy of being a top earner in an industry while speaking out against other top earners.
Whatever else his electoral troubles, president Obama seems to have the all-important hip-hop star demographic sewn up. Rapper Jay-Z recently released an ad which detailed his love for president Obama, and encouraged young voters to vote with Obama in November.
The president, whose re-election campaign has been heavy on soak-the-rich class warfare rhetoric, apparently welcomes the endorsement of this member of the imperial 1 percent. Jay-Z has earnings of more than $460 million.
Differing security policies for recent concerts at Brooklyn's new Barclays Center are raising eyebrows in the Big Apple.
When rapper Jay-Z did a series of concerts at the new facility beginning the end of September, attendees were forced to go through metal detectors, but when Barbra Streisand performed there Friday evening, no such precautions were in place.
Rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West have once again expressed their love of gratuitous violence. The pair has released a new music video, “No Church in the Wild,” depicting a violent riot, with police and rioters engaging in full-scale mayhem.
“No Church in the Wild” opens with a protestor throwing a Molotov cocktail at police. The violence only escalates from there; the video is a patchwork of firebombs, fights, and destruction.
Occupy Wall Street attacks income inequality and the richest 1 percent, adopting as its slogan ''we are the 99 percent.'' In October, its protesters staged a ''millionaires march' 'in New York City, parading to the homes of wealthy citizens such as Rupert Murdoch and David Koch. But only some riches bother the Occupiers, who have ignored the massive wealth of celebrities in their own ranks.
The top 25 richest celebrities supporting Occupy Wall Street, according to the website Celebrity Net Worth, possess a combined net worth just over $4 billion.
On Friday's NBC Today, MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin gushed over a new class at Georgetown University taught by liberal professor Michael Eric Dyson: "Race, class, gender, culture, all things that would be covered in most sociology classes and they're covered in Michael Eric Dyson's as well, but the issues are examined in a way that uniquely appeals to college students."
Melvin touted how, "Jay-Z's street rhymes that became stage anthems are being taught at one of America's top schools." He promoted the course as serious education: "In the Georgetown University syllabus, it's called, 'The Sociology of Hip-Hop: The Odyssey of Jay-Z.' For about 140 students twice a week it's 90 minutes of head bouncing and dissecting....Dyson uses Jay-Z's 2010 memoir 'Decoded' to break down lyrics, but maintains a traditional classroom, using articles, guest speakers, essays and exams."
Rapper Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, has a long record of being a supporter of Democratic and liberal causes. In fact, he was one of many celebrity left-wingers who were invited to President Obama's lavish $40,000 birthday celebration.
When it comes to his own affairs, Carter is like many Hollywood liberals in being unwilling to put his money where his mouth is. Right now, he's engaged in a prolonged confrontation with a carpenter's union for using non-union workers to perform renovations on a New York City club he owns. The union thugs are playing to type as well, parading around giant inflatable rats and calling Carter's employees racist terms.
Last Wednesday, NPR's Morning Edition ran a strange story picking up on how George Washington University professor Mark Lynch blogged for Foreign Policy magazine on how rapper "beefs" are a metaphor for foreign policy. Jay-Z, on top of the rapper heap, is the U.S., whereby a challenging rapper like The Game could be Iran. It prompted this funny letter, read on the air the next day:
LINDA WERTHEIMER: One NPR listener wrote on our Web site: Jay-Z and The Game are like foreign policy? I can't wait to see how Britney Spears and the Pussycat Dolls are like cancer research, or how the reunion of New Kids on the Block parallels how Russia is again consolidating power. Can I search your archives for a story about how Bobby Sherman mirrored the Tet Offensive?
Here's a part of Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep's interview with Professor Lynch:
Academics at Washington State University have discovered something that may not be very profound. Celebrities are quite successful in persuading young people to turn out and vote.
The survey found that get-out-the-vote pitches by celebrities in the 2004 election cycle helped create an 11 percent increase in voting by people between the ages of 18 and 24, compared to the 2000 election."It suggests that we can make use of celebrity culture to get students engaged," said Erica Austin, a co-author of the study and dean of the school. "They want to be like celebrities."
Austin’s team found that "celebrities have the power to motivate civic engagement regardless of their own grasp of the issues at hand." It’s easy to question the political savvy of musicians like P. Diddy or Christina Aguilera. Oprah Winfrey’s big primary push for Barack Obama gushed through the news and spilled over at the ballot box, even if her speeches on his behalf vaguely touted him as "The One" and sounded like a goopy New Age chat. He was "an evolved leader" and "we're all here to evolve as human beings."