Honestly, I began listening to Lil Wayne because of all the backlash he has received for stating he did not really understand or resonate with the phrase “black lives matter.” From that statement he has been called ignorant, stupid, misogynistic, mis-educated, etc. The black community has made it clear they disapprove his words. I barely knew he was a rapper but the backlash made me curious about the person, Wayne Carter. And learning about him has been fascinating.
First of all, I think that often when someone does not go along with the voices in the choir we find ways to dismiss their voice through such labels as above. If they are stupid, we obviously do not have to listen to them. It is really hard for us to allow distinctive voices and opinions, which are different from mainstream thoughts, to be carefully considered. We are quick to dismiss people without opening our own selves up to be stretched some. We are quick to take one clip and run off with our own conclusions. This dismissive highly reactive nature I find frustrating and disconcerting.
Second, I think Lil Wayne’s statement that black lives matter phrase did not make sense to him is valid. He is not the first to say that black lives matter does not make sense. Others who have dared to utter it have met similar fates. I myself have at times struggled with it but now fully embrace the phrase. Here is where our roads diverge. For Lil Wayne what is relevant is his own life. He matters. His children matter. He consistently affirms the importance of family to him. His fans matter to the degree that they support him. In his own individualistic perspective those closest to him are what matters.
Lil Wayne is not the conscious brother man about the injustices of the world kind of person; that was Tupac. He relates to the world through his own personal experiences and it does not go much further. He does not feel discriminated against nor was he aware that racism existed. For him the number of white people that support his music and come out to his concerts is proof that racism doesn’t exist. Now whether I agree or disagree with his argument it is an argument that reflects his own critical thinking.
Lil Wayne is a product of his environment. In his hometown New Orleans there was only one thing to do work hard and working hard led him out of financial poverty. He is an artist and he is committed to his art. He is the only artist I know who writes nothing down because he is his words so he explains; that’s brilliance not stupidity as some would like to describe him. He is gangsta, which for him means life on his terms and keeping it real and being himself at all times. He loves weed and skateboarding and tattoos. He loves his family. He was born and named Dwayne but dropped the D because he is a junior but since his Dad never did anything for him he doesn’t think he deserves the title so he altered his name and connection. And while we are probably never going to kick it, his words, his thinking, and his authenticity created a refreshing exhale for me.