The email was in response to a clip from a television interview Williams shared in which he reflects on money's outsized role in the narrative of black liberation: "Somebody made the mistake of equating money with liberation," Williams says, "You hear an artist like JAY-Z saying on The Black Album, 'Well, I couldn't help poor people if I was poor.' Correction: the majority of our leaders and people who have helped us at the time have not been able to help us because they have money, they helped us because they had vision."
In his email, JAY-Z responds to Williams's interview, writing that "Our fight for economic freedom is new, it's not the same war as Harriet Tubman was fighting." Williams disputes this in his Instagram post sharing JAY-Z's email: "There have been wealthy black Americans in every generation since the 1600's, and in Africa since forever... Yet psychological freedom from hard taught capitalism is hard to earn."
"Even as we push against the systemic structures in criminal justice, housing, etc," Williams continues, "we know that it is not simply a question of money being used against us, rather it is the ideology that negates our worth as human beings that seems to justify the constant exploitation of our worth and work."
Read JAY-Z's email and Williams's response below: