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The Blue & Gray Press | July 15, 2018

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Macklemore chimes in on white privilege discussion in latest hit single, calls out Miley Cyrus

Macklemore chimes in on white privilege discussion in latest hit single, calls out Miley Cyrus


“We take all we want from black culture, but will we show up for black lives?” Musicians Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are speaking out about the very current reality of white privilege and the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement in their newly released single “White Privilege II.”

The single has hit No. 1 on the real-time Billboard Plus Twitter Trending 140 chart and has gone viral around the country about the importance of acknowledging white privilege, but specifically in this circumstance, in the hip-hop industry.

The two artists constantly create songs about social constructions in American society, but this time they not only call out American culture as a whole, but specific white artists Miley Cyrus and Iggy Azalea.

The lyrics identify many issues surrounding cultural appropriation that Cyrus and Azalea regularly ignore, for example, Macklemore raps, “You’ve exploited and stolen the music, the moment, the magic, the passion, the fashion, you toy with, the culture was never yours to make better, you’re Miley, you’re Elvis, you’re Iggy Azalea, fake and so plastic, you’ve heisted the magic.”

Azalea was particularly displeased with Macklemore and Lewis’ song, and shared her response to their song on Twitter. “He shouldn’t have spent the last 3 yrs having friendly convos and taking pictures together at events etc if those were his feelings.”

Hip-hop artist Talib Kweli was irritated by Azalea’s response, and displayed his feelings by responding to Azalea’s tweet with, “The fact [Azalea} thinks Macklemore song was a diss to her, instead of actually listening, is proof of her privilege,” Azalea wrote in a tweet on Jan. 22.

Cyrus and Azalea fans still showed their disapproval of Macklemore and Lewis’s diss at the two artists, without noticing the fact that not only did Macklemore call out Cyrus and Azalea for benefiting from white privilege in the hip-hop industry, but also himself.

Throughout the lyrics Macklemore questions his privilege in the industry, but specifically he raps, “I’ve heard that silences are action and God knows that I’ve been passive, what if I actually read a article, actually had a dialogue, actually looked at myself, actually got involved? If I’m aware of my privilege and do nothing at all, I don’t know.”

He continues in his song, rapping, “But the one thing the American Dream fails to mention, is I was many steps ahead to begin with, my skin matches the hero, likeness, the image, America feels safe with my music in their systems, and it’s suited me perfect, the role, I’ve fulfilled it and if I’m the hero, you know who gets cast as the villain.”

The Macklemore fan base was split on his new single, as most fans are after a controversial song is released, some appreciating his attempt at bringing up the subject of race and white privilege, while others saw it as hypocritical.

Both musicians tend to jump into the deep end when it comes to controversy, leaving no topic untouchable, particularly when it comes to the nationwide discussion of ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and white privilege. It should come as no surprise that they wrote an eight-minute song in which they examine their place in the hip-hop world.