Artist News

Jay-Z questions Occupy Wall Street, prompts protestors to stage concert ‘teach-in’

By | Published on Tuesday 11 September 2012


Despite publicly speaking out in favour of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street movement just last year, Jay-Z has now said that he’s questioning the Occupy protestors’ objectives. Jay wants them to “declare themselves a bit more clearly”, and to stop blaming “entrepreneurs” like… well, Jay-Z I guess, for the world’s economic ills. Yeah, leave those hip hop moguls alone.

The rapper, who was criticised when his fashion brand Rocawear sold (and allegedly cashed all the profits from) t-shirts bearing the ‘Occupy All Streets’ slogan, has been voicing his doubts to the New York Times. “What’s the thing on the wall, what are you fighting for?”, he asks of the protestors, before recalling a conversation with Russell Simmons – another Occupy champion within Planet Hip Hop. “I’m not going to a park and picnic” he told his fellow hip hopper, “I have no idea what to do, I don’t know what the fight is about. What do we want, do you know?”

The rapper also notes: “I think [the protestors] need to really declare themselves a bit more clearly. Because when you just say that ‘the 1% [is to blame]’, that’s not true. Yeah, the 1% that’s robbing people, and deceiving people, these fixed mortgages and all these things, and then taking their homes away from them, that’s criminal, that’s bad. [But] being an entrepreneur [isn’t bad]. This is free enterprise. This is what America is built on”.

Ah yes, free enterprise, the freedom to monetise a cause without donating back to it. Very admirable.

While Simmons has shared his own Twitter clarification in answer to Jay-Z’s comments, it seems representatives of Occupy subset Guitarmy also have answers to the confused MC’s various questions. The pro-Occupy collective is staging a ‘teach-in’ at one of Jay-Z’s concerts – which takes place, by inconvenient (for Jay-Z) coincidence, at a new Barclays-sponsored arena in Brooklyn in which the rapper has business interests, with a mind to ask “which side are you on?’ whilst “lovingly showing Jay-Z what we want and how he can help”.