By now you’ve heard – or heard about – the white Seattle rapper’s nine-minute song “White Privilege II,” about his tricky relationship with hip-hop and black protest movements.
My colleague Audie Cornish at NPR’s All Things Considered talked to Macklemore and Jamila Woods, a young black woman he collaborated with on the new song, on Wednesday.
I watched the interview and got the sense that the meta stuff surrounding that conversation was more fruitful ground for inquiry than the song itself – like, say the dynamics between the Grammy-winning white celebrity and the little-known black female singer brought in to lend her talents, her thoughts, and yeah, her blackness, to what will inevitably be seen as his project.
Ultimately, what you think about “White Privilege II” will probably have as much to do with your already calcified opinion of Macklemore as it will with your thoughts about the song’s premise – that whiteness confers a constellation of both quantifiable and quieter advantages in American life.
Outside of the catharsis for Macklemore it’s not clear just who the song is for.
Is t any chance those people are going to sit down with a nine-minute hip-hop song called “White Privilege II”? Perhaps “White Privilege II” is meant for young people who are just starting to try on these ideas about relative dis/advantage for size, the kids who are coming to their political awakening in a post-Ferguson world.
Prior to the song’s launch, his press people repeatedly reached out to me and a few other folks in “The race space,” urging us to cover it.