Jay Z, Eminem and Trump
Eminem and Jay Z are very similar artists in their sales, records on the charts, and their overall presence in the rap game. Both artists have come out against President Donald Trump in different ways. Most notably, Eminem excoriated Trump in a rap released in October, paying no mind to the amounts of fans he would lose due to the very politicized nature of the lyrics. Jay Z recently said in an interview with Van Jones that even though the Black unemployment is decreasing, it does not “equate to happiness”. Less than 12 hours later, Trump released a tweet lambasting Jay Z for his remarks, saying “Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!”. There is a reason why artists like Eminem can go unnoticed by the president and those like Jay Z can be targeted almost instantly.
But why go after Eminem when Jay Z is a better mark? Trump goes on the offensive when famous Black people offer condemnations of his presidency and administration. NBA coaches Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich have both offered scathing criticisms, with Popovich outright calling Trump a "pathological liar." However, when Stephen Curry was wavering on going to the White House post-NBA championship, Trump tweeted out his disapproval and rescinded the invitation in the same tweet. Kerr, who coaches the Golden State Warriors, had already discussed the possibility of going to the White House as a “unifying” gesture, but was not tweeted at, unlike Curry.
Both of these situations highlight the reasons why Trump attacks some, but not others. Jay Z and Curry are both prominent figures, who are also Black. Their counterparts have arguably said more offensive statements, but have not been tweeted at or mentioned by Trump. It is important to note the divide and lopsided nature of Trump’s criticisms, and understand how they operate to uphold his administration. Trump relies on stirring racial tensions to maintain a vision of America, one that shows how this country is not growing or accepting. There is no clear answer why Trump feels inclined to respond to the criticisms of prominent celebrities who are Black rather than others. But to say that it is random is to deny to fact that there is a certain profile of who Trump is attacking, and it is important to note in understanding the larger scheme of presidency. With people encouraging journalists to take time to call Trump out for his stoking of racial tensions, it is essential to view the problem from all aspects, even those based in Twitter.