An extensive interview with Jay Z has revealed that the rapper was “angry” at the outcome of the George Zimmerman verdict, a case he followed closely through its duration.
In the interview with Elliott Wilson of Rap Radar, Wilson brought up President Barack Obama’s statement on the verdict, which the MC called “amazing,” after which Wilson asked point blank for the rapper’s thoughts on the trial’s finale.
“I was really angry,” Jay said. “I didn’t sleep for two days. We all knew there was still a bit of racism in America, but for it to be so blatant was… if you just asked the questions, asked yourself the question, ‘Didn’t Trayvon have a right to stand his ground?’ He was being chased and he fought back.” (Trayvon Martin commentary begins at the 10:52 mark in the video clip).
According to the rapper, Martin had no intention of any wrongdoing that night, instead only meaning to get a snack and watch the NBA All-Star Game.
“He may have won; that doesn’t mean he’s a criminal,” he continued. “He won. I mean, if you chase me and you try to attack me and I defend myself, how can I be in the wrong? How is that right? This guy went to get some Skittles and go back to watch the All-Star game. He had plans — I’m gonna get this Arizona [iced tea], get these Skittles and I’m gonna watch the game. He had no intentions of robbing anyone’s home. It’s like, again, a reminder [that] we still got a long way to go. It’s beautiful, because this generation right now, they don’t see color in that way. We’re a bit removed from those racist feelings because again, it’s hard to teach racism when your child is out [at] clubs. It’s integrated and the music we listen to is the same. Our feelings and our anxieties are more similar now.
“So you have hope that this generation don’t see racism that way, but you still see that that old guard — that whole thing that I’m fighting against — that old guard and their old ideas and their stubborn ways and all that ego and that bullshit is just still there, it still exists. You just hate to believe that.”
Hov then turns to the business side of the case, including his opinion of who’s on side Zimmerman’s side.
“Even a part of it has gotta be about business. They’re funding George Zimmerman because they want to hold onto their guns, so the NRA… your mind can go so many places about why this verdict came down the way it came down, and we all know it was wrong. It was wrong! This guy’s not a professional. First of all, you’re not a professional to profile someone. Professionals are taught not to profile someone. This guy’s a novice. This guy’s a fucking mall cop. You can’t assess a situation and figure out what you’re gonna do. That’s not what you do for a living.
“And even the law, that Stand Your Ground law. You can have a fight with someone and they’re running way, you can shoot them and kill them and you’re fine? What? Come on. Come on, man. Like someone’s robbing your house and they’re leaving and you can shoot them on the way out? They don’t [pose] a threat to you at that point. So how? How is that self defense?”
He goes on to note that he’s been dedicated “Young Forever,” his 2010 hit featuring Mr. Hudson, “because his memory will live on. Of course you feel horrible for his parents… but hopefully this is the moment that change that law, that change the way we interact with each other. You hate that a child had to be sacrificed for that.”
The interview was conducted in advance of Jay Z’s Yankee Stadium show with Justin Timberlake, which kicked off the United States leg of the duo’s Legends of the Summer tour.
-Kevin Rutherford, Radio.com