In Defense of Macklemore

In Defense of Macklemore

Macklemore has recently come under fire over the recent release of “White Privilege II” a sequel to his pre fame single “White Privilege.” His career as a rapper has been coming under fire ever since he made it big after the release of his song “Thrift Shop.” Since then he has met with mixed reviews on his music.

Since its release “ White Privileged II” made  a splash in the musical world. The song focuses on the recent controversy that comes with the race discussion in the Black Live Matter movement. In the song Macklemore gives his thoughts about this issue. The song runs like a series of vignettes in which a variety of ideas are thrown at the listeners coming from different voices and tones. Yet, the main point of the song comes across clear in an attempt for Macklemore to put in his own thoughts on the problem.

In the song Macklemore calls out many popular white artists who have profited from the use of Black culture’s music  in their songs. This song was criticized highly due to its irony in which Macklemore himself is seemingly taking advantage of the Black culture by writing a song that he himself will profit from in the end. As Gene Demby, a writer for National Public Radio expressed, “… the dynamics between the Grammy-winning white celebrity and the little-known black female singer brought in to lend her talents, her thoughts, and yeah, her blackness, to what will inevitably be seen as his project.”

However, before creating the song Macklemore went to speak to many authoritative people in the Black Lives Matter Movement. He spoke to a variety of people in the making of this song and even sent out a sample of his song to people before its official release.

His mention of Iggy Azalea as one of the singers who has benefited from the use of Black Culture, caused controversy between the two artists and harsh remarks towards Macklemore and his team. Yet, he addressed the hypocrisy of his own success in the music business in his first iteration of “White Privilege,” stating that he understands he sings the music but, does not know the pain behind it. How abstract it is to express himself in a form of music that African Americans use to express their struggle.

The most powerful lines in the song are not sung  by Macklemore or anyone. They are spoken by an unknown voice in one of the various voices speaking during the song saying,  “ Black Lives Matter, to use an analogy, is like if… if there was a subdivision and a house was on fire. The fire department wouldn’t show up and start putting water on all the houses because all houses matter. They would show up and they would turn their water on the house that was burning because that’s the house that needs the help the most.”

In the end Macklemore is not speaking to those who already support the Black Lives Matter movement, or the ones that believe it’s not a huge problem. Macklemore’s target audience is those who are in between, the fence sitters on the issue. He is speaking to those who realize that Black Lives Matters is a serious issue but, do not know what to do or how to react to it. He is speaking for those who still don’t know how to address the issue.

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