Jay-Z Backs Obama's Support for Same-Sex Marriage
Rapper/entrepreneur Jay-Z has been a frequent supporter of President Obama, having stumped for him during the 2008 election, attended the inauguration (his wife Beyonce performed) and been on his iPod, among other things. And it turns out Jay's with him on certain policy decisions, too. Monday morning, at a press conference in Philadelphia announcing a music festival Jay-Z is producing there in September, CNN sat down with him for a brief interview, where he backed Obama's recent support for marriage equality, equating discrimination against gays with discrimination against blacks.
"I think it’s the right thing to do," he said, "so whether it costs him votes or not–again, it’s not about votes. It’s about people. It’s the right thing to do as a human being.” Watch the interview here, via Miss Info:
While Jay-Z has supported Obama's policies before, his support for this one in particular is a big deal for a couple reasons. One, hip-hop has often been plagued with homophobia throughout its history, and while that's been evolving and changing as new generations come into it, a respected mainstream rap scion like Jay-Z coming out against it is certain to change some minds, or at least give some people pause. Secondly, the media has gone into overdrive trying to prove that black church leaders are going to turn on Obama, reducing complex and differing clergies, denominations, and beliefs (i.e.: !) to one race-based monolithic community (without noting the vast influence against marriage equality perpetrated by "white" churches, to which many people of color belong). That someone as prominent as Jay-Z—one of the most important figures in American pop culture, who's not just a force as a musician but also owns a huge management company and part of the Brooklyn Nets, among other things—would speak out in support is a major coup. May Jay-Z's message encourage more people across the country to "evolve" their own positions, too.
Related aside: Rolling Stone spoke to Jay-Z at the presser, as well, and asked the rapper about whether he'd enlist Obama's Al Green impression for his music festival:
RS: You said you’re looking for artists that embody the American spirit. I’ve got a guy: he’s got a beautiful voice and he sings Al Green songs well. The only problem is that he’s super-busy and Donald Trump thinks he was born overseas.
Jay-Z: [Laughs] Ah, yeah, that guy. I’m gonna try. I’m gonna tell you guys right now: I’m gonna give him a call and I’m gonna try to get him to perform – do a little rendition of Al Green – but I doubt it. I think that opens up the political season. He’ll be so far into helping the world that he probably won’t have time, but I’m absolutely going to ask him.
Sounds like a good opportunity to shore up the younger base during the campaign trail...