McClelland is the author of the books “Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President” and “Nothin’ But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times and Hopes of America’s Industrial Heartland.” He says the 17-year-old rapper is nothing but a “real live South Side thug” whom he hasn’t “the stomach for” in the wake of the horrifying massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20-year-old Adam Lanza brutally murdered 20 children and 6 adults with a semi-automatic rifle, after killing his mother in her bed.
McClelland wrote that Keef’s violent past and gang affiliation should have stopped him from listening, but his curiosity was “piqued”:
It should’ve been enough to put me off his music, which, from what I’ve heard of it, is pretty lunkheaded: simplistic rhymes, primitive beats. But it’s also a window into the world that has made Chicago the murder capital of America, and that piqued my curiosity.
Since last week’s murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, though, I haven’t had the stomach for any violent entertainment. While I was watching this Sunday’s Bears game, ads for the movies Gangster Squad and Django Unchained came on TV. Both ads packed two or three shootings into 30 seconds. I don’t want to see either. A culture that glorifies the sexiness of the man with the gun is one reason we have 300,000,000 guns in America. I also don’t want to pay $14 for the minstrel show of listening to a real live South Side thug. I don’t want to support a scene that makes gangbanging a resume builder for music success.
As previously reported by NewsOne, retaliation for the unsolved September 4 murder of Lil JoJo, 18, real name Joseph Coleman, has possibly led to multiple deaths that Chicago police are currently investigating. JoJo’s distraught mother, Robin Russell, said she doesn’t believe Chief Keef pulled the trigger, but she does believe that he hired a hitman and she also fears for her life.
JoJo taunted Keef, and associates Lil Durk and Lil Reese, in a diss track posted on YouTube. In a separate video, JoJo can be heard antagonizing an alleged Keef associate, who clearly responds, “I’ma kill you!” The tension escalated and threats were exchanged on Twitter, culminating with JoJo’s death hours later after he tweeted his location.
Chief Keef has continuously denied involvement, even after mocking the murder on Twitter.
Here’s the thing: I completely agree with McClelland. Chief Keef’s glorification of ignorance and gun violence should have never been given a platform. And Kanye West, who ushered in an era of vulnerability and consciousness in hip hop on the commercial stage, before losing his damn mind in Maybachs and Kim Kardashian, has taken the coward’s way out by purposely giving Keef a platform to say things that he wouldn’t dare say in his own music.
But the entrenched racism at play in this “review” is evident.
It is absolutely amazing that it took the shooting at Sandy Hook for McClleland to “lose his stomach” for violence. As I previously wrote in a piece for Clutch Magazine, the violence in Chicago has been ignored by citizen and politician alike. As long as it remains quarantined in the hood, the murders of 6-year-old Aliyah Shell and 7-year-old Heaven Sutton, and the scores of other children mowed down before their lives truly began, will continue to fade away into footnotes in Chicago’s expanding history of violence.
Secondly, how dare he try to re-purpose the Sandy Hook shooting into an indictment on gun culture in urban communities?
Say it with me: Adam Lanza was a 20-year-old, White “genius” from the suburbs who killed his mother in her bed and murdered babies. And, surprise, surprise, he doesn’t look — at all — like Chief Keef.
I agree with McClelland’s aversion to gun culture 100 percent; but it can not be remedied in a bubble. We can’t just “lose our stomach” only when it happens in Suburbia, because the biggest thugs are not on Chicago’s South Side. They’re in Washington, sharing cocktails with the NRA, watching things fall apart while their pockets get fatter.
And those gang-bangers can not be ignored.