Jay-Z has claimed that hip-hop music is the driving force in combatting racism, stating that the genre has “done more for racial relations than most cultural icons.”
As part of a month-long celebration honouring civil rights legends on the Oprah Winfrey network, the 45-year-old stars in a video explaining why he credits the music in being so influential. “I think that hip hop has done more for racial relations than most cultural icons. Save Martin Luther King, because his dream speech we realised when President Obama got elected,” he said. “This music didn’t only influence kids from urban areas. People listen to this music all around the world, and [they] took to this music. Racism is taught in the home. It’s very difficult to teach racism when your kid looks up to Snoop Doggy Dogg.”
And whilst the 99 Problems hitmaker admits that his views are “strong,” there’s no denying that the star has been a major influence both in the world of hip-hop and in moulding the minds of young people. His achievements were recognised back in 2013, when the father of two-year-old Blue Ivy and husband to Beyonce was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. Ranked alongside the likes of Pope Francis and Vice President Joe Biden, the mag explained, “Jay-Z embodies so much of what makes New York New York. A kid from a tough neighborhood who grows up in public housing, overcomes lots of bad influences on the street, never lets go of his dream, makes it to the top — and then keeps going, pursuing new outlets for his creativity and ambition.”
There’s no denying that Jay has made a name for himself, since releasing his debut album in 1996, the rapper has gone on to earn 19 Grammy Awards, holds the record for most number-one solo albums and is one of the world’s best-selling artists in history. The star certainly changed the face of hip-hop with his contribution, and acknowledges that the public’s attitude to music has changed since he first started out.
“Before, people partied in separate clubs. There were hip-hop clubs and there were techno clubs,” he said. “Now, people party together, and once you have people partying, dancing, and singing along to the same music, then conversations naturally happen after that. We all realise that we’re more alike than we’re separate.”