Macklemore says he’s shown up for black lives by “listening.”
During an interview featured in XXL magazine’s Spring 2016 issue, Seattle rapper Macklemore was asked what white people can do to show up for black lives. The musician revealed that he can only speak for himself, but did share that the primary way he’s shown up for black lives is merely by “listening.”
Macklemore also added that using his resources, whether they’re financial or through the platform he has an artist, is another way in which he shows up for black lives.
“I can really only speak for myself,” Macklemore said. “What I hope is that [‘White Privilege II’] is and will always just be a song. What we have known from the very beginning is that the song is not going to be the end all be all of whether this is successful. It’s what we do from here. It’s how we show up and how we engage with community. It’s how we create spaces of where there’s numerous different types of people in the room. We live in a culture and world where it’s easier to point the finger at somebody else and tell them what they’re doing wrong than looking at ourselves and asking, ‘What are we doing?’
“For me, right now, in terms of showing up for Black lives is listening,” he added. “It’s using the resources that I have and that—be it a platform, be it a stage, be it financial resources—
creating conversations, having conversations with people that are at the forefront of the movement that have been organizing for much longer than me. It’s stepping into those spaces and listening and yet also, organizing White people and having conversation. We have to actually truly educate ourselves on the history and know what White privilege is and know where it started; know that this is not just like a theory but this is coming from a long lineage of false belief acted out through laws that Whiteness is superior. It’s always easier to talk about the drama than it is to talk about the true issues of what I was attempting to say with that record.”
Macklemore also addressed the “contributing factors” surrounding his This Unruly Mess I’ve Made album selling far less than his debut with Ryan Lewis, The Heist.
“There’s a lot of contributing factors to that number,” the rapper said. “I think that we didn’t want to come out of the gate with singles. The strategy that we had around releasing this music wasn’t about sales. If it would’ve been about sales, I don’t think we would’ve put out a nine-minute song about White privilege and White supremacy five weeks out before the album drops. The reasoning for doing that had nothing to do with numbers. We wanted to give ‘White Privilege II’ its own moment. That was more important than a set-up single and I think that the numbers are reflective of not having a set-up single, but I feel great about that honestly. You know, I’ve sold millions of records and been miserable. The album is a piece of music that I’m really proud of—a number doesn’t reflect that, a comma doesn’t reflect that, some zeroes don’t reflect that.”
Macklemore’s interview with XXL magazine can be read in its entirety at XXLMag.com.
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