Eminem spit a solo verse on last night’s BET music awards that took aim at the current POTUS and the Detroit emcee did not pull any punches. Many have shared Em’s sentiment over the past two years but his freestyle put words to feelings that in turn generated conversations all across America. Not to take anything away from the talented rapper, but his performance speaks to the power of Hip-Hop as a medium of mass communication. He was able to vocalize his personal perspective that just so happened to align with millions of others. Without Hip-Hop, he would not have a platform at all.
During his verse, Eminem called out the president, his racism and in a twist, any Eminem fans that support the current president. The irony of a White rapper calling out a White Supremacist president on a Black awards show was not lost on us but rather it speaks to Hip-Hop’s ability to transcend race without being color blind. This is something politics has wanted to do since the imaginary, so-called “post-racial” society was ushered in by Obama. In contrast, Mysonne delivered a compelling freestyle that talked directly to Black Hip-Hop fans and encouraged unity and critical thinking. Eminem used his platform to go straight for the head of the beast and obviously stole the show. Looking back, Eminem’s verse will be remembered as a turning point in outspoken public opinion when he was able to capture the zeitgeist of the moment and use his influence and White privilege in a way that challenged the elite political establishment on a Black network.
If anything, Eminem’s cipher proves that when Hip-Hop is involved, all races can unite in the fight against oppression.