Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z (pictured), who only a year ago was criticized by longtime civil rights activist Harry Belafonte for having an apathetic attitude towards issues facing the African-American community, has now done an about-face.
Since George Zimmerman‘s not guilty verdict, the rapper is reportedly so rattled about the outcome that he used his mega platform to let his feelings be known via an interview with hip-hop journalist Elliot Wilson for a taped segment on “The Truth.”
Jay-Z revealed to Wilson how he became an insomniac after hearing the Zimmerman verdict.
“I was really angry. I didn’t sleep for two days,” he said. “I was really angry about it. We all knew that there was still a bit of racism in America, but for it to be so blatant. If you just ask the question, ask yourself the question: Didn’t Trayvon have the right to stand his ground? He was being chased. He was being chased and fought back. You know, he may have won, that doesn’t mean he’s a criminal; he won. If you try to attack me and I defend myself, how can I be in the wrong? How is that right? This guy went to get some Skittles and go back and watch the All-Star game. He had plans… he had no intention of robbing anyone’s home.”
What raised the ire of the multi-Grammy winning performer was that he felt Zimmerman took his neighborhood watchman duties too far. “We all know it was wrong,” he said. “It was wrong. This guy’s not a professional. You’re not a professional to profile someone. A professional law enforcement officer is taught not to profile. This guy’s a novice. This guy’s a f–king mall cop.”
Jay-Z said the verdict does provide one positive lesson. “[It's] a reminder of we still got a long way to go,” he said. “It’s beautiful because this generation right now, this generation, they don’t see color in that way. We’re a bit removed from those racist feelings because, again, it’s hard to teach racism when your child is out [at] clubs. It’s integrated and the music we listen to is the same. All our feelings and our anxieties and all those things are more similar now. We have hope that this generation don’t see racism that way. You still see that the old guard, that whole thing I’m fighting against. That old guard and their old ideas and their stubborn ways and all their ego and all their bullshit — it’s just still there. It still exists and you just hate to believe that.”