According to Joyner Lucas, there are two sides to every story.
In his breakout song, “I’m Not Racist,” the rapper attempts to start a discussion on how we approach racial differences, assisted by actors who portray the white and black characters who each own half of this two-verse track.
But the black character in his viral music video fails to put bigotry and harmful stereotypes in their place.
And we weren’t the only ones who felt that way. New York rappers Mysonne and Osyris Antham join us to break down their remixed versions of the second verse and why they felt it necessary to step to the mic.
Alex Clark is a video journalist and filmmaker covering social inequality, the internet and American politics. He's a Senior Producer at GMG and instructs video at Columbia Journalism School.
The remix verse definitely went harder, but even this feels like it was missing something to me. Mysonne covered more real topics than Lucas did, but his verse still just scrapes the surface of the problems and challenges black people face. I like that he talked about how the music industry invests in, and promotes some of this garbage rap that white people seem to love as much as some black people. They knock us for this ‘sex drugs and rock and roll’ shit, but they were using that formula to sell albums way before they figured out how to cash in on hip hop.
This verse didn’t have time to touch on how real and damaging systemic racism is and how pervasive its been ever since the Civil War ended. Poll taxes, ridiculous literacy tests, “Black Codes”, red-lining, Jim Crow, etc. White people think we’re lazy, but what about the times when we’ve tried to get our shit together and they killed us anyway, like Black Wall Street?
Part of the challenge of having this discussion is that its easier for white people to believe the false narrative they hear from bigots like Jeff Sessions, because the truth is never taught in school but you can’t go anywhere in the world without seeing the negative stereotypes of us. It doesn’t help that all schools seem teach is: Slavery, Rosa Parks, MLK Jr. and now Obama. If the white person doesn’t have an open mind, its hard to fill in the gaps of knowledge and history so we can have a real conversation. Sometimes when you try to expand on how we got to where we are now, white people don’t want to even listen. They make it about themselves and start to talk about their white guilt. Nobody wants your guilt, Chad, but we can’t really talk about the problem if you don’t even know or care that it exists. Overall this remix is a nice try, and things like this need to be said, but I think there’s just too much to fit in a 2 minute verse.