Dear Lil Wayne: There's Rich, And Then There's Reality. Your Black Life Is Not Exempt
Dear Lil Wayne,
To me, there's a subtle difference between a fall from grace and a fall from sanity, and I fear that, unfortunately, you've crossed into the land of the latter.
For years, I, like many of your now-conflicted fans, considered you one of the best rappers to ever do it. Easily. So much of your music was the soundtrack to my young adulthood. Songs like “Go DJ,” “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy,” “Mr. Carter,” “Lollipop,” “Mrs. Officer” and “Comfortable” are bursting from the seams with nostalgic memories, taking me back to the year when Weezy reigned supreme. No Ceilings might just be my favorite mixtape of all time. Every now and then, I’ll surprise a friend by stepping out of my reserved character and enthusiastically performing “A Milli”—the double platinum Tha Carter III single solidifying your place on many a rap pedestal—damn near verbatim. And I’m pretty terrible at remembering and reciting rap songs anywhere else.
And then there’s now.
Last night, you went on national TV and made yourself out to be the biggest kind of fool, one who clearly has lost touch with himself. I can only imagine what was going through ABC Nightline reporter Lindsay Davis’ head when you stared into her face with those glazed over beady eyes of yours with a look of disgust and separated your black life, her black life and the millions of black lives who idolize you by a matter of bank commas.
"I am a young black rich motherf**ker. If that don't let you know that America understand black motherf**kers matter these days, I don't know what it is,” he retorted when asked about his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement.
To further drive home his point, he acknowledged the cameraman and scolded the reporter for not only sending the question his way, but for associating with the movement. “That man [is] white. He filming me, I'm a n***a. Don't come to me with that dumb sh*t, ma'am. My life matters, especially to my b***hes… I don’t feel connected to a damn thing that ain’t got nothing to do with me. If you do, you crazy as sh*t. You.”
It was at that moment that the collective black rap fan coalition released an embarrassed and regretful sigh.
Never mind the callous nature in which you spat at her question and referred to the woman (or women) who love you, to whom your life matters. That’s its own discussion. It’s you discrediting the movement that brought national attention to the deaths of men and women who look just like you as simply “weird” verbiage to an unrelated police problem.
Wiz Khalifa was tackled by six cops and arrested in August 2015 for riding his hover board through an LAX terminal. In September 2015, retired black tennis star James Blake was tackled to the ground by a plainclothes police officer for “fitting the description” while innocently standing outside of his Manhattan hotel. In July, Dr. Dre was falsely accused of gun possession and was arrested after a confrontation with another motorist who parked in front of his Malibu home. This August, a SWAT team surrounded Chris Brown’s home for 10 hours after a woman alleged he threatened her with a gun. Although he wasn’t arrested, Just Blaze was pulled over by N.J. police back in July and recorded the encounter for precautionary reasons.
I’m certain all of these black men have more than a couple of zeros in their bank accounts, but none of those O’s stopped them from being the victims of potentially violent police encounters. And let’s not even talk about the ones without money and without breath in their brown bodies to tell the tale.
Wayne, no matter how many private jets you fly in, no matter how massive your private skate park is, and how many blinding diamonds gleam from your mouth and drip from your neck and wrists, you still share that same shade of scary brown skin with Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Renee Davis, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and many more in the eyes of the pale-skinned outsider.
No matter how many suburban white kids fund your lavish lifestyle or how many artsy white people film it, nothing changes the fact that, to them, you are a very black man. You're not above it, because as the wise rap prophet Kendrick Lamar told us on “His Pain II,” bullets are nameless. Racism and prejudice don't give a damn about your bank account.
How dare you fix your face in confusion as if you no longer relate (ASAP Rocky style) to the very people who found your music relatable? Your people. Telling Undisputed, FOX’s sports segment, that those extra digits erased racism and all of a sudden made white eyes see you in a different shade. What an insult to hear these sentiments come from your mouth right after dropping some poignant prose alongside Solange on arguably one of the blackest albums to come out during the year blackness was under attack.
What an insult to say that you, the same man who three months ago got your giddy, lean-sipping self up on that Tidal stage to yell "black lives matter" into the crowd prompting a supportive roar, now find the terminology dumb and unfamiliar.
Which time were you lying, then or now? Talking about, I dunno about them black lives, but my rich black life matters. Boy bye. Put the cup down, because you’ve lost it.
Get real, but more importantly, get help.
A Concerned and Insulted Fan