Following the shocking death of Migos’ member Takeoff on November 1, celebrities have been sounding off about violence in the hip hop community. One of the latest public figures to share their thoughts on the climate of rap is 20-year-old Aoki Lee Simmons, the daughter of Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons.
The model took to TikTok to share her opinion of non-Black rap fans and how they are disingenuous when engaging with the genre:
“You know every time a Black hip-hop artist, a rap artist who has broken into the American mainstream dies, it is only those communities, the Black community, the hip-hop community, who are actively involved in their remembrance or in mourning them. At the same time, like so many privileged non-Black people are living their life...the soundtrack to their life is this music...they are using it for everything...they are getting so much value from these people, these artists, and from their life stories.”
I hope this was well articulated. Thinking of Kirshnik Khari Ball, and his loved ones, the artist take off and his fans, today. But he and so many black artists deserve better than this type of fan. Who can post the music, the speculated drama, and everthimg else, but not their death. 🖤
Simmons didn’t stop there:
“But when the artist dies—not a word. So much of what makes hip-hop so compelling is it’s about stories. Part of it which makes it so compelling to white America is it’s so often the stories of the traumatic lived experience of Black Americans...like the absolute worst parts of systematic oppression and the havoc it wreaks on communities in the hood—violence and drugs.”
She also explained that topics these artists rap about are “relevant issues” and listeners who try to “vicariously insert” themselves in to hip hop frequently distance themselves from it as soon as this occurs.
“You want to appreciate the art, profit off the art, give profit to their art, but completely devalue and continue to oppress and ignore the humanity of the artist. So when these artists die young, it’s so obvious how much these ‘fans’ care about them as human beings...he issues that kill your favorite rapper are often the same issues people are marching in the streets for—but there’s a disconnect with that.”
She ended the video by saying that everything she has is because of Black art and why it’s important to speak up about how it is regularly disparaged.
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