While speaking on his character on the AMC television show “Hell On Wheels,” Chicago rapper Common, who plays newly-freed slave Elam Ferguson on the show, discussed matters of race in today’s society.
The Chi-Town lyricist even addressed comments Lord Jamar made last year about white artists being guests in Hip Hop. Common revealed that he disagrees with the comments Lord Jamar made and added that although Hip Hop was started by blacks and Latinos, it now serves as a bridge that connects people from different nationalities.
“I don’t agree with that…Obviously it’s a culture that started with black and Latinos,” he said. “We know where it came from. And we know the heart and soul of it is really about the struggle and like you don’t have to be from the ghetto or from a poor place to express Hip Hop. I always looked at Hip Hop as like ‘Man, this is how we express ourselves.’ In fact, I actually think it’s a bridge for people from different walks of life or different nationalities to come together…And Hip Hop has been a bridge for me to like connect with and really learn people from a different culture. White, some of my Latino friends. When I first went to New York I was hanging out with The Beatnuts. I’m like—‘I didn’t know that you could be Latino and look like me.’ You know what I’m saying? So, it’s like I got educated because of Hip Hop. And it’s been like a connecting force more than anything. I wouldn’t oust white culture or any other nationality saying that they not a part of Hip Hop or they guests in it.”
Common addressed another hot topic during his interview with Vlad TV as he commented on Canadian crooner Justin Bieber using the n-word in a past video. He says he hasn’t seen the video for himself, but feels that due to Bieber’s respect for black culture he likely wasn’t being demeaning with his use of the word.
“I was a little bit because I think that—I know how much Justin Bieber is—like he respects black culture,” Common said. “He surrounds himself with black people. So, I don’t think it was something that—To be honest I never even seen the tapes, but I got the feedback of it. But I don’t think it’s something that he was saying wholeheartedly to demean a black person. From what I—I didn’t see the tape, but from what I pick up I don’t think he—And if he did, he was in a place where he just didn’t know. Like he must have been raised in a place where he just didn’t know. Cause he obviously gravitated towards black culture. So, he has to have a certain amount of respect for it. For you to be a part of it and want to be a part of it.”
Ironically, Justin Bieber was one of a handful of artists Lord Jamar targeted in one of his conversations on black music. He stated that the singer was “leeching off black music” during an interview with Vlad TV in April.
“He’s leeching off black music,” Lord Jamar said while speaking on Bieber. “Like a lot of other white artists are doing. But listen to his whole sound. Listen to who he’s trying to appeal to and influence. He got that white fan base, but he’s making essentially black music.”