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February 24, 2010
Jay-Z: The Audacity of Celebrity Ignorance
In a recent exclusive interview with The Sun, a British tabloid newspaper, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z-real name Shawn Carter-demonstrated the versatility of his God-given talents, which apparently now extend into British political punditry.
According to Jay-Z, Britain needs its own messiah, in the mold of Barack Obama; and why? Because Obama has changed the course for the people in his "neighborhood". But which neighborhood is he talking about?
Through his music, he often refers to the Marcy Projects in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he grew up, but his success as a recording artist has afforded him the opportunity to live with his wife, R&B diva Beyonce Knowles, in a mansion in Scarsdale, nearly 40 miles away. This inherent detachment to what was once his neighborhood provides some clarity for what ultimately proved to be a completely uninformed, unintelligent harangue.
How much has Obama really helped Brooklyn?
Prior to his election, Ruben DeLeon, a 22 year-old unemployed mechanic who actually still lives in Brooklyn, made a statement about his optimism for an Obama presidency.
Unfortunately for Ruben and his fellow Brooklynites, whatever the president was singing wasn't as hot as Jay-Z's Big Pimpin'.
When Obama assumed the Office of the President in January 2009, the unemployment rate in Brooklyn was 7.7%, according to statistics from the New York State Department of Labor. A year later, the borough's unemployment rate has skyrocketed to nearly 11%. The U.S. Census Bureau has documented that minorities are affected the most by the nation's high unemployment problem, and Brooklyn has a minority populace that encompasses nearly 60% of the borough's entire population.
Shouldn't Jay-Z be angry?
Yes, but he isn't because he's not an unemployed Brooklynite. He's an entertainer who's poised to become hip-hop's first billionaire, and thus is virtually unaffected by the nation's poor economic state. Regrettably, he's ignorantly still celebrating the accomplishments of the Obama of yesteryear while the nation's likely voters-like Mr. DeLeon-have awarded the present-day Obama with the lowest job approval rating of his presidency.
But his opinion is interesting because it's indicative of the out-of-touch, hubristic mindset that many of our nation's celebrities possess. They believe because they have unique, god-like talents and the money, worldwide fame and adulation that come as a result, they lend supposed credible voices to whatever cause or individual they choose to support.
If Jay-Z had done his research, he would have known Britain currently has an unemployment problem of its own. The nation's unemployment rate currently sits at 7.8%, and its economy has shed 428,000 jobs over the last year, according to statistics from a recent Labour Market report. Do they really need an Obama-like leader who will create an environment of further economic uncertainty featured with pro-tax-and-spend, anti-growth, job-destroying initiatives?
In a word, no.
I appreciate Mr. Carter's musical talent, and would welcome another classic live concert with the Roots or another album on the artistic level of Reasonable Doubt, but when it comes to discussing politics, he should pass the mic.
J.C. Arenas is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and welcomes your comments at jcarenas.com