Rap superstar and card-carrying member of the "one percent" (i.e. the wealthy and successful) Jay-Z knocked Occupy Wall Street and questioned whether the shattered movement's leaders actually understand what they’re doing.
"What’s the thing on the wall, what are you fighting for?" Jay-Z said in a recent New York Times magazine interview.
"I'm not going to a park and picnic, I have no idea what to do, I don’t know what the fight is about. What do we want, do you know?" he said he asked rap magnate Russel Simmons.
His questions for the anti-corporate movement continued:
I think all those things need to really declare themselves a bit more clearly. Because when you just say that 'the 1 percent is that,' that’s not true. Yeah, the 1 percent that’s robbing people, and deceiving people, these fixed mortgages and all these things, and then taking their home away from them, that’s criminal, that’s bad. Not being an entrepreneur.
"This is free enterprise. This is what America is built on," he added, defending those who, he thinks, create wealth and success legitimately.
However, before anyone starts praising him for giving a shout-out to free enterprise, a few things should be noted. First, we suspect his irritation with the floundering Occupy movement has more to do with disappointment than it does with the fact that it has blindly gone after certain income brackets and entrepreneurialism.
You see, at one time, he more or less supported Occupy. Remember those "Occupy All Streets" shirts? Yeah, that was his clothing line Rocawear:
And here's an official statement Rocawear sent Business Insider:
The ‘Occupy All Streets’ T shirt was created in support of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement. Rocawear strongly encourages all forms of constructive expression, whether it be artistic, political or social. ‘Occupy All Streets’ is our way of reminding people that there is change to be made everywhere, not just on Wall Street. At this time we have not made an official commitment to monetarily support the movement.
Shortly after the shirts were released, it was discovered that he didn’t plan on sharing the profits with the protesters. For that, he was harshly criticized.
But remember that rap mogul Russel Simmons? He dug the shirts in a big way and tweeted a defense Jay-Z's business acumen [via The Atlantic Wire]: "No one hates [business] or success, the campaign is against corporations/special interests control of [Republican] government."
Republican government? Keep in mind, this was in 2011.
"Throughout my life I have always admired great cultural figures who put their weight behind political movements ... And I respect Jay for supporting the movement and creating the t-shirt, cause that helps," Simmon’s political director (?) Michael Skolnik added.
So, circling back to our earlier suspicion, do you think it's safe to say Jay-Z's irritation with Occupy has more to do with its failure to accomplish anything meaningful than it does with its anti-business/corporate/capitalism message?
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