J.Cole isn’t biased when it comes to keeping his peers or heroes accountable for their actions. In his Billboard cover story Thursday (Sept. 27), the rapper shared his thoughts the stark differences between white and black victims of domestic violence.
Cole spoke on his relationships with Nas and the late XXXTentacion while citing the lack of attention or support women of color receive in abuse cases. The artist shared how he was essentially “hurt” by Kelis’ lengthy list of accusations against Nas, who recently shared his side of his custody battle and failed marriage with the singer.
“It feels weird because I f**k with Nas, but I just have to be honest. I came up seeing too much f**ked-up shit for that to be acceptable,” he said. “I don’t care who it is. I don’t f**k with people abusing women, and I don’t f**k with people not taking care of their kids.”
He also provided perspective to his reaction of XXXTentacion’s death with a few moments from a conversation they had in February. While his domestic case came to light months before, Cole says he was aware of the “Sad” rapper’s battle with mental illness.
”He started off the conversation literally on some, like — he didn’t even say hello. He started off basically saying, “I’m not on your level yet,” he recalled. “He was talking about spiritually and mentally, and that was intense because I was like, “Huh? I’m not on no level.” He was praising me while also saying he was going to achieve whatever it is he felt that I had. I’ve dealt with mentally ill people in my life before, many of them. And right away, I notice that this kid is super passionate and smart, but I could also see that he was so deep in his mind.”
He then goes on to explain how black domestic violence victims haven’t warranted the same support as their white counterparts in mainstream media. According to the Violence Policy Center, African-American women are victimized nearly 35 percent higher than white women. Half of American’s female homicide victims are African-American women, who were killed by former partners or husbands.
“That’s tough because we’re talking about black women,” he said. “If it was a white woman involved with these allegations, then sadly — I’m realizing as I’m talking to you — maybe people wouldn’t cancel them just as quick, but labels would be forced to cancel, because white outrage is way more powerful than black outrage, unfortunately. When white people start getting outraged about this type of sh*t, then maybe something will happen.”
Check out more of Cole’s thoughts on politics, the reaction to “1985” and more below.
On The State of Politics and the 24 Hour News Cycle:
I don’t click the links. The headlines are enough. I understand there is a segment of politics where you have people — and this is the part I respect — who truly are trying to use it as a tool for change, and they devote their life to grassroots voter registration and shit like that. They’re living a life that’s unselfish. But the politics we’re talking about (slaps table) is Trump headlines. We’re really silly. Human beings are easily manipulated and distracted. You couldn’t have told anybody 10 years ago that this would be the landscape of American discourse. That these would be the topics of conversation: f**king Kardashian drama and Trump drama.
Why He Didn’t Vote In The 2016 Presidental Election:
Hillary Clinton wasn’t somebody that was motivating me to go vote. If it was Bernie Sanders, I would’ve shown up and voted. I would’ve been the first one in line, no bullsh*t. No disrespect to Hillary. Actually, with Trump in office, I love that America gets to see the truth. If Hillary Clinton was in office, it would be the most fucking disingenuous sh*t because everybody would be thinking that everything’s cool because we got an incredibly qualified female president. Which would’ve been amazing on so many levels. But all the sh*t we see right now would’ve still existed; it would’ve just been quiet. And I prefer this sh*t to be out loud. I prefer an honest America. I prefer the world seeing that, yes, we’re a country that is dumb enough — no disrespect — [that] we got duped into electing Donald Trump.
The Misinterpretation of “1985”:
“Finger wagging,” that’s a phrase that clearly gets shared around. I’m like, “Y’all don’t even understand.” This happened when [2014 album] Forest Hills Drive came out, and I saw someone review it. It was this white girl — no disrespect to white girls, that’s just what she was — and she pinpointed a few lines and tried to make it sound like that’s what I was saying.
I’m like, “Damn, you really missed what I was attempting to do.” I saw that with “1985,” too. I would just chalk it up to, they’re not rap fans. They don’t understand subtlety and nuance in the genre. But what you just said is way more of an on-point reasoning. I made that song a year before, and so much sh*t happened, mentally, leading up to the song and after it. And it’s like people never even get a chance to hear that side of me. But I don’t care to correct it. I don’t have an urge or a desire to be like, “Hey, y’all, you know when I did ‘1985,’ I wasn’t really finger-wagging.” It’s not my job to correct the narrative.
Read the rest of the Billboard story here.