BET Hip Hop awards last night featured a who’s who of the years hottest Hip Hop–but all anyone cares about is Eminem. The real Slim Shady stole the internet with his cypher devoted to a full-body takedown of Donald Trump. ICYMI, you’re welcome:
The interwebs and cable news outlets buzzed with all sorts of love and accolades for Marshall Mathers, from Diddy and Kaepernick himself to LeBron James, another star who recently roasted Trump with a simple “U bum”.
So by midday, everybody is really feeling Em, and Trump’s tinny Twitter triggers haven’t banged out a response (though Trump did take the time just days ago to tweet at ESPN, calling for Jemele Hill to be fired). Shortly thereafter, Eminem is declared President of the United States according to the rules of rap battles.
Except that Eminem is not the president. Once the high wears off, the fact remains Eminem is about the 306,547,999th person in America to yell ‘Fuck Trump’. I swear even my mother has said it. He’s not even the first celebrity, or rapper to say it. There is no shortage of rappers that have spit that fire at the Orange House–Kendrick, Qtip, Kweli, Jay. Where were you this spring when Joey Bada$$ stole my heart with those three little words: fuck white supremacy?
But there is one thing Eminem did that is worth noting–he attacked his own fans. Most of his cypher was directed at Donald Trump but a few bars of the freestyle were directed at his own Stans. As one of the most popular white rappers, Em has–spoiler!–a huge white fan base. And like the rest of white America, it’s safe to assume a portion of them are Trump supports, maybe even a few alt right thrown in, if they made it past White America. With an album scheduled to drop November 17, Eminem refuses to tread lightly with his more hate-inclined fans to make that paper. Instead, he went in on his own bread and butter, telling fans:
And any fan of mine who’s a supporter of his
I’m drawing in the sand a line, you’re either for or against
And if you can’t decide who you like more and you’re split
On who you should stand beside, I’ll do it for you with this:
Like confronting your drunk racist uncle at Thanksgiving, Em models the way that we each have to confront the people we care about. We’ve all done it, lost friends, sometimes even family over the racist and sexist beliefs they refuse to stop embracing. With these last few lines in a video bound to go viral, Eminem shows famous white people how famous white people can and should talk to their potentially racist fans: forget the money–cut them off. This is worth clapping it up.
The fight for racial justice requires all people of good conscience to do what is hard, to confront those closest to us, and to put ourselves in harm’s way to get to justice. It’s not about finding the best way, or the most important way, but just the way that is open to you, right now. Writers, write. Painters, paint. Organizers, organize, and Eminem raps. We each must pick up the tool we are most skilled with to dismantle racism. We have to take real risks to say what is true to people we love, to people who love us. Shedding friends, fans, and fakers is the only way we’ll get to justice.