Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera made a stream of anti-hip-hop comments earlier this week. He was particularly upset about Kendrick Lamar’s recent performance at the BET Awards, where the MC rapped “Alright” on top of a graffiti-covered cop car as a huge American flag waved in the background—simultaneously asserting his patriotism and his irrepressibility. Rivera didn’t see it that way: "Hip-hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years,” he declared.
In a conversation with TMZ yesterday, Kendrick refuted Rivera’s comments. “How can you turn a song about hope and turn it into hatred?” the rapper asks. “The overall message is we gonna be alright. It’s not the message of, ‘I want to kill people.’”
Kendrick also pushed the focus back on a failed system that creates conditions of violence and poverty. “The problem isn’t me standing on the cop car,” he continued. “[Rivera’s] attempt is really diluting the real problem—the senseless acts of killing these young boys out here. For the most part, it’s avoiding the truth. This is reality, this is my world… me being on the cop car, that’s the performance piece after these senseless acts. Of course I’m going to be enraged about what’s going on out here. Of course I’m gonna speak on it. But at the same time, you can’t dilute the overall message. Yeah we’re angry about what’s going on. Yeah we see what’s going on. But you can’t do that—you can’t take away our hope that things will be ok at the end of the day.”
Hip-hop is not the problem,” he added, chuckling. “our reality is the problem of our situation. This is our music. This is us expressing ourselves. Instead of going out there and murdering, I want to express myself in a positive light. Hoping these kids can find some type of influence on it in a positive manner. [Rivera]’s again avoiding the problem… the oppression of having guns and drugs in these streets.“
You can watch Kendrick's new video for "Alright" below.