Trap House to White House

 

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Former President Barack Obama with Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter and, wife, Beyonce Knowles-Carter. [Photo Courtesy: TheDailyCaller.com]

As the anticipation for the 2020 election festers. Peoples’ bid for presidential nominees has gone afar from Oprah to Harambe. I trust Oprah with my life yet I would rather see her act in the White House than live in the WH. Entertainers are meant to entertain; not be involved in politics Yet, the Carters may have a different approach into the White House.

From selling dime-bags to the rights of his Rocawear company. Shawn Corey Carter has grown as a businessman. The rap mogul negotiated a deal with Samsung in 2013. The tech company purchased 1 million downloads of Magna Carta Holy Grail. Jigga released his 12th album for free to Galaxy smartphone users. The record was platinum 72 hours before its release date. Two months after its public release, Recording Industry Association of America announced the album was certified double platinum.

 

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[Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter, 2016 Photo Courtesy: TMZ.com]

Jay-Z guaranteed 4:44 would go platinum. Sprint (a significant shareholder in Tidal) purchased 1 million albums, which were given away for free to their customers. This deal also qualified the record to be recognized as platinum on the release date. RIAA changed the rules to allow digital albums to be certified platinum on their release date, rather than the previous 30-day waiting period.

In 2008, Forbes reported that Shawn Carter was estimated to have a net worth of $150 million. Ten years later the retired drug dealer is expected to have a net worth of $810 million. As the father of three continues to reign in the entertainment and business worlds, whats next, politics? I think so.

In 1978 when Bill Clinton ran for Governor of Arkansas, his opponent caused a stir of his wife’s name. According to The New York Times, it noted that he “is married to an ardent feminist, Hillary Rodham, who will be the first First Lady of Arkansas to keep her maiden name.” After he lost the election, Hillary Rodham Clinton emerged. Bill won the reelection and served for three consecutive terms before being elected President in 1992. To avoid this mayhem, the Carters concocted a plan.

Beyonce Giselle Knowles. A powerful name. Even after marriage, many women entertainment keep their maiden name. It’s apart of their brand. Queen B chose differently. Instead of dropping her last name, or moving it to her middle name, she hyphenated her names, Knowles-Carter. Once Beyonce established her new name on paper, the royal-themed Mrs. Carter World Tour began. Bey was showing us the future.

 

 

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Beyonce promotion for Mrs. Carter World Tour [Photo Courtesy: TheWhig.com]

California has a knack for electing entertainers into office. Arnold Schwarzenegger served two terms as Governor of Cali. Ronald Reagan served two times in the same state. Eventually becoming the 40th President. As the Carters settle down into their $135 Bel Air Mansion. Blue, Sir, and Rumi have created entertainers Bey and Jay into the perfect nuclear family.

It’s no secret the Carters are friends with the Obamas. Is it possible to ship couples? Is that a thing? Either way, Michelle Obama mentioned how Jay-Z would be an excellent presidential candidate. And everyone trusts Michelle Obama. She could tell me to jump off a bridge, and I would do a backflip off with a smile on my face (not really but you get the gist, right?).

If you can release an album and it goes #1 on all the international charts without any marketing, by all means, you run the world. If you can go on tour before releasing your album and your fans still bop to these unknown songs at your sold-out concerts, you have public support. Beyonce did that. The Beyhive would storm into the voting polls to see her as the first lady. I would cry as I cast my vote. I’m crying now because I know it’s going to happen. First Lady Carter. Or better yet, Madame President Carter as Jay wrote in his latest music video, Family Feud.

Blue Ivy Carter may aspire to get into politics herself one day but not before mom and dad show their daughter how it is done correctly.

Queering Hip-Hop

Photo credit: Frank Ocean “Nikes”

Remember hip-hop in the 70s?  Okay, maybe you don’t.  Circuit parties.  Emcee battles. Beat Boys. DJs scratching the sickest mixes.

Hip-hop exploded as a South Bronx earthquake that in the 80s sent shockwaves throughout America, and in the 90s reached to the ends of the earth. Smelling money, the music industry came on board and fueled the hits.  Rap groups could hear their own music on the radio and in clubs. With the new millennium, hip-hop begot gangsta rap, driven by rage, celebrating the violence of the Hood.

The cultural muscle that gave hip-hop its irresistible appeal?  The hyper-masculinity of the black male.

In the 90s, the industry had no time or tolerance for alternative masculinities. “Ain’t no due process / For boys that become girls or verse-visa. / Field niggas. Control this: / Pin the hollow-point tip on this gay rights activist…” (Goodie Mob, “Fly Away,” 1998). The only safe place for queers was at the back of the bus: “it’s rumors of gay MC’s, just don’t come around me wit it” (Common, “Nag Champa,” 2000).

Eleven years ago, the fresh-face Kanye West spoke out against hip-hop’s homophobia. He spoke of his own experience, reflecting on how the pressures to conform to standards of masculinity affect gay people. “If you see something and you don’t want to be that because there’s a negative connotation towards it, you try to separate yourself from it so much that it made me homophobic,” he said. In 2011, when West performed in a kilt, Lord Jamar tweeted that “Y’all Cee where that Kanye shit takin’ us, right? (Lord Jamar, #halfafag, 2013).

Yes, Lord Jamar, we do see: that Kanye shit is takin’ us right out of your Gender Prison.

In 2012, Frank Ocean posted a letter about his relationship with a boy when he was 19. Kanye West praised Frank Ocean for coming out. “The people who break the stereotypes make history,” West told Dazed.

Kanye extended his praise and support for Ocean by encouraging radio stations to play his newest album “Blonde.” “If anyone at radio really loves music… Pick your favorite Frank Ocean song and play it at least 10 times a day… This will make the world better,” West expressed on his Twitter account.

Jeffery Lamar Williams — “Young Thug” — defies the norm with his playful fashion sense: His favorite footwear? women’s Uggs. His favorite accessory? an AR-15. The rap hippy graced the cover of Dazed magazine, sparkling in diamonds over a red-lace Gucci sweater. Young Thug has reinvented the gangsta. “It don’t matter,” he says in a Calvin Klein ad. “You could be a gangster with a dress, you could be a gangster with baggy pants. I feel like there’s no such thing as gender” (2016).

Blurring the line of gender roles, Ocean’s most recent visual, “Nikes,” is perhaps his impressive work of art. Naked dancers in angel wings, male and female, twirl upon stripper poles. A woman spreads her legs to unleash a glitter storm. Glitter booties jiggle. Plenty of skin, lots of lovers — he and she, her and her, him and him.

Goodie MOB’s hollow-tip bullets are no match for Black individuality or Queer freedom.

Beyoncé has denounced the trans-phobic North Carolina “Bathroom Bill.” She also encouraged fans to “support Equality NC by donating, volunteering, become an ambassador, attending an event, or simply spreading the word!”

On Instagram, Snoop Dogg flaunted his new French manicure. Jaden Smith has become the new face of Louis Vuitton women’s wear. Can you imagine Common or Saigon or Brand Nubian embracing such freedom?

 

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(Video Courtesy: Apple Music)