Nasir Jones is a legend in his own right and one of the voices we hear when it comes to speaking on socio-political arenas through his music.
Today we got a glimpse of Nas’s mindset in the form of an open letter via Mass Appeal where he speaks candidly about the state of American racism, his thoughts on politics, the black man and Trump.
He starts by saying, “The only way the black man gets a little piece in America is if he takes the O.J. stance: “I’m not black, I’m O.J.” When you ignore the shit that’s happening to people you can live in this fantasy, this American fantasy that you belong to… who? You ignore what’s happening, and that gives you peace. Because what’s going on is enough to make people insane.”
Some guy lynched in a tree at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia, and the cops rule it a suicide. Now, don’t get me wrong—suicides happen. There are blacks suffering from mental illness just like whites suffering from mental illness, except that whites who suffer from mental illness and have interactions with the cops, they end up living. Blacks, we get killed. So if you want to sit back and ignore all that, go the O.J. route. Just remember, even he got dealt with at the end of the day.
He goes in further to describe how he feels about politics and why it does not affect what he has been given the right to do.
The Creator put us here to do our thing, so I do my thing. And I don’t pay attention to politics at the moment. For what? There’s no reason. For me, it doesn’t make any sense. We all know a racist is in office.
People can talk their sh*t. Comedians can sound racist. People can go through their moments of that sh*t, but when you have the responsibility of being President and you carry on like that, you send a strong message to people outside of your group that they ain’t worth sh*t.
He says what many of us who are privy to the value of the power we actually have now are saying. It doesn’t matter who is in power, what they do does not affect our work directly. We can do a lot with a little bit!
To that point he says:
My way of addressing these issues is through my work. Whatever president may be in office doesn’t affect my work directly. The way he affects people is what affects me. I observe what’s going on and that goes into my creative process. The person himself, I’m not caught up with. I don’t even have time for Trump or Pence. I don’t give a f&*k.
My focus is on what’s happening with real people in their everyday lives. How they behave, the decisions they make, and how that affects families. I grew up in a single-parent household, so I was affected by that life. But it didn’t stop me. So I speak to the everyday people. I speak to everybody. If the people are bothered by it, I speak on it. If the people are bothered and want change, I speak on that.
He goes on further to say that Obama changed the game for many of us:
That position, the presidency, seems so far away. But Barack Obama changed the game so that now, whether you’re a woman or Latino or whoever, you can feel that running for office can be a real goal. Winning the election could be real for someone in this country if that’s what you want. As a kid, at one point I thought I wanted to go to film school. It was gonna be films or music. Steven Spielberg, George Lucas—those were big names for me coming up.
I’m doing all the things I ever dreamed of, even though there was a Ronald Reagan, even though there were laws that ruthlessly destroyed the black community, put tons of us in prison on trumped-up charges, and put us in jail for a long time over crimes that other people get a smack on the hand for. It’s basically slavery. It’s like the top of Sacha Jenkins’ documentary, Burn, Motherfucker Burn! where this guy says “I see blacks as a superior pet.” You know what I’m talking about?
From when I was born, people have enforced laws targeting so-called minorities to keep us enslaved, in a way. I survived that.
Nas sees value in the information age because it gives so much more control of our own destinys in comparison to our ancestors. We have to do less talking and more walking. Nas ends the letter with this:
So, I don’t got time for lippin’. I got time for actions. Anytime I’m speaking it’s action.
You can read the entire letter here.