Jay-Z is beefing with Occupy Wall Street. Less than a year after he started wearing and selling Occupy-related T-shirts, the rapper has spoken out against the movement, criticising protesters for not being clear about their complaints.
“What are you fighting for?” Jay-Z asked in a new interview with the New York Times. “I don’t know what the fight is about. What do we want? Do you know?”
This is a big change from last November, when Jay-Z was briefly associated with the movement. The New York-born MC and CEO was seen wearing a T-shirt that read “Occupy All Streets”, which his company, Rocawear, started selling online. While Rocawear never specified where proceeds from these sales were going, they were allegedly considering a donation to the Occupy movement. “Occupy All Streets is our way of reminding people that there is change to be made everywhere, not just on Wall Street,” Rocawear said.
It now seems that Jay-Z was never backing Occupy activists. “I’m not going to a park and picnic – I have no idea what to do,” he recalled telling Russell Simmons, a hip-hop mogul who was a prominent Occupy supporter. “I think all those things need to really declare themselves a bit more clearly because when you just say that ‘the one percent is that,’ that’s not true.”
Jay-Z, who is worth an estimated $460m, said it was wrong to fight against entrepreneurs. “Yeah, the one per cent 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,” he told Zadie Smith in the Times. “[But it’s] not [bad] being an entrepreneur. This is free enterprise. This is what America is built on.”
[Jay-Z via Joe Seer / Shutterstock]