With tragic echoes of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting still shaking the nation, hip hop is making loud efforts to join in on the conversation about race in America.
The latest controversy driven into racial debate is the 1863 Confederate flag that many herald as a symbol of Southern pride, but others affiliate with oppression, hatred and white supremacy. Still proudly flown over South Carolina as well as being displayed in the State House, the flag ignited statewide protests following the mass murder.
The controversy fortunately is adding sparks to hip hop activism as well. MTV News caught up with a few of rap’s most influential voices for their weigh-in on banning the Confederate flag.
“I seen a lot of people keep it like, ‘That’s our heritage’ or things like that, but if that’s the case you might as well let white people say ’n–r,’” Atlanta-bred OG Maco said. “It’s wrong and it’s outdated. It’s what allows people to cling on to a systematic racism, bro.”
Maco’s fellow ATL-native K Camp shared similar sentiments. The “Slum Anthem” emcee spoke on the Confederate flag’s history as good enough reason for a ban, adding that burning it is a powerless move.
“I seen it on Twitter, I seen somebody burning the flag and I didn’t know what the hell was going on,” he said. “It’s gonna take more than that. If they raising the flag and the people want to take it down, go get it.”
Bred from the nation’s capital, D.C.-native Wale stated that he didn’t know much about the Confederate flag’s history, but he understands its racial undertones.
“I hate speaking on things that I’m ignorant to,” he mentioned. “You don’t let stuff like that keep going, you gotta address it or there will be mayhem. Without organization there’s chaos.”
Some hip-hop notables aren’t as adamant, however. Soulja Boy, who comes from the racially-charged Southern region of Mississippi, felt declined to decide on banning the flag because of his large presence of white fans. He called the controversy a “mental thing,” and cited Kanye’s bold fashion statement.
“But look what Kanye did,” he said. “He put the Confederate flag on his jacket and f–king flipped it.”
South Carolina’s Gov. Nikki Haley expressed her support for removal of the flag from the state’s capitol, and dominating retail corporations such as Walmart and Sears have begun removing the flag from product inventory.
Other states such as Maryland and Virginia are beginning discussion on removing Confederate flag license plate designs and symbolism.
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