Harlem rapper, A$AP Rocky, recently felt the frigid temperature of the black community’s cold shoulder while being held in a Swedish detention center with deplorable conditions, following an assault charge. The 30 year-old artist was arrested, there, for a video-recorded brawl involving a 19 year-old Swedish man, Mustafa Jafari, who was harassing Rocky and his crew as they walked the street. Footage of Rocky and his crew punching and kicking Jafari went viral.
During a 2016 interview with ‘The Breakfast Club’ radio show, the rapper appeared to separate himself from being obligated to take stances on black social injustices when asked his take on the uprise in Ferguson, Mo. following the police-murder of Mike Brown. The rapper is quoted saying, “Why, because I’m black? So every time something happens because I’m black I gotta stand up? What the fuck am I, Al Sharpton now? I’m A$AP Rocky. I did not sign up to be no political activist. I wanna talk about my motherf—in’ lean, my best friend dying, the girls that come in and out of my life, the jiggy fashion that I wear, my new inspirations in drugs! I don’t wanna talk about no f—ing Ferguson and shit because I don’t live over there! I live in fucking Soho and Beverly Hills. I can’t relate. I’m in the studio; I’m in these fashion studios; I’m in these bitches’ drawers. I’m not doing anything outside of that. That’s my life.”
Source: The Breakfast Club
When news of Rocky’s arrest and seemingly unjust treatment in Sweden hit US news outlets the, almost unanimous, sentiment from black Americans was “keep his ass”.
It’s no secret that Twitter and other social media platforms can, sometimes, be an unforgiving space of unwarranted judgement and pseudo-activism, where groups of people emotionally react to selective media sound-bites and or fake news headlines without researching things beneath their surface. The practice known as “cancel-culture” has uninvited countless numbers of black celebs from the imaginary “barbecue” for many reasons that mainly revolve around what can be considered “race treason”. While what constitutes “race treason” is arguable, depending on what’s being examined, and relative to each individual in many cases, I’ll say that I don’t agree with Rocky’s stance on black injustices, but I didn’t take his words as treasonous.
If I took A$AP Rocky’s words as treasonous, I would also have to take many actions of black America as a whole as treasonous. If I take the rapper not wanting, what he considers, negativity to enter his mental space as a sign of treason, I would also have to regard the black girl with African-locs (who studies numerology, burns sage and refuses to watch shared videos of blacks being abused by police because she considers it to be trauma-porn) as having a treasonous outlook. If A$AP Rocky honestly admitting he isn’t mentally equipped to speak on the black plight because his life revolves around fashion shows and SOHO shopping sprees garners the black community to denounce him as our own, should we also denounce every black celeb and entertainer that, may have not said what Rocky said, but practices those same actions?
Again, I do not agree with A$AP Rocky’s statements on ‘The Breakfast Club’, regarding his stance on black social injustices, but I don’t consider him a “race traitor” based on those statements. A$AP Rocky strikes me as being like many of today’s celebrated entertainers. He strikes me as being young, rich and uninformed about the black plight.
I’m probably one of the few blacks in America that would have loved to see the black community support A$AP Rocky. I would have loved if it were us, instead of Donald Trump and special envoy for hostage affairs, Robert O’Brien, who negotiated Rocky’s release. I would have been elated if, after enduring unjust treatment in the Swedish judicial system, A$AP Rocky was rescued by the very people he seemingly denounced on ‘The Breakfast Club’. That way he would be able to witness the importance and power of black unification and cultural solidarity.