Jay-Z was accused, back when Occupy Wall Street was taking off, of trying to profit off the fledgling movement by marketing “Occupy All Streets” shirts under his Rocawear line while not donating any of the proceeds to the protest.
But it seems that Jay-Z is as blank as many opponents of the Occupy Wall Street protests when it comes to understanding the movement’s objectives and focus, and the rapper — who has in the past expressed much sympathy for issues like income inequality in his rhymes — resorts to some reductive and ultimately false notions when expounding on his feelings about Occupy.
In a broad-ranging interview done with the New York Times Magazine, Hova repeated some anti-Occupy Wall Street rhetoric that has been lobbed by critics since the movement began, namely that the protests are aimed against wealth, success, or the general existence of rich people, rather than what is at the heart of the movement, prosecuting those who criminally profited off the suffering of others and were responsible for the global economic meltdown.
Jay-Z himself is what the movement has called a one percenter, and he seems to be offended by the characterization of the ultra-wealthy as exploitative of … well, all the other humans.
While Hova acknowledges much of Occupy is opposed to those who became wealthy at the expense of the comfort of millions of people, he still can’t get around the feeling that many of those protesting are just jealous of wealth.
In the interview, Jay-Z muses of Occupy Wall Street:
“What’s the thing on the wall, what are you fighting for? … I’m not going to a park and picnic, I have no idea what to do, I don’t know what the fight is about. What do we want, do you know?”
“I think all those things need to really declare themselves a bit more clearly. Because when you just say that ‘the 1 percent is that,’ that’s not true. Yeah, the 1 percent that’s robbing people, and deceiving people, these fixed mortgages and all these things, and then taking their home away from them, that’s criminal, that’s bad. Not being an entrepreneur. This is free enterprise. This is what America is built on.”
Jay, I think if you go back and look, you’ll see that’s pretty much exactly what Occupy Wall Street is saying. Do you still support Occupy, or are you, like Jay, growing disillusioned?