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Jay-Z silences naysayers with t-shirts, Meghan Trainor

Internets, When it was announced that Jay-Z had formed a partnership with the NFL to combat police br

Life in a Shanty Town

September 3 · Issue #125 · View online
The hip-hop newsletter that's not afraid to ask the tough questions

When it was announced that Jay-Z had formed a partnership with the NFL to combat police brutality through strategic Super Bowl halftime show programming, one of the most logically sound arguments, put forth by only the most intellectual members of the community, was that we should take a wait-and-see approach to deciding whether or not this was a good idea. Ridiculous though it may seem, what if it really does result in the police not popping a cap in an unarmed black man’s ass anymore?
It’s quite possible that none of the cops involved in the high profile police killings of black men in the past few years was familiar with Meek Mill’s music. I was largely unfamiliar with the rapper’s oeuvre, before his beef with Drake, a while back. Truth be told, I don’t know if I ever heard his response to Drake’s hilariously devastating “Back to Back.” I may have just heard that thing where Funkmaster Flex threatened to play it for like an hour and never did.
Nevertheless, I was impressed by the story of how Meek Mill was strung along on probation for over 10 years by a black female judge who wanted him to record a duet with Boyz II Men and may have also wanted The D, and how he was sprung from the pokey by a cabal of CAC billionaires, including Robert Kraft, who was later caught getting a handy from an Asian lady who, for what it’s worth, was way past the age of consent. That ought to count for something, right?
It’s clear that Meek Mill has a certain effect on white billionaire owners of sports franchises, and it stands to reason that he could have a similar effect on the police, if only they could hear one of his songs in, say, the Super Bowl halftime show. Now they’ll have that opportunity. It was announced the other day that Meek Mill, along with Meghan Trainor, will perform at an event in Chicago, in what I’m thinking could be a dry run for next year’s Super Bowl.
It’s also been announced that social-justice-themed t-shirts will be made available. At the very least, these shirts will likely carry the message that it’s wrong for the police to kill black people, mmkay? It remains to be seen whether any of the proceeds will be donated to charities that fight police brutality or if, as was the case with Occupy Wall Street, Jay-Z will keep them for himself. He might have concerns about the efficacy of other civil rights organizations. Did any of them think to make a t-shirt?
If he hasn’t already, Meek Mill might consider recording, with Trainor, the duet he never had to record with Boyz II Men. There might not be time between now and the event in Chicago, but they can definitely have something ready to go by January. Performing a duet will have the dual effect of making a Meek Mill song more relatable to white people and helping Trainor get her career back in order.
Trainor hasn’t had a hit since “All About That Bass,” in 2014, and I think Roc Nation might be trying to rebrand her as a white artist whose songs are played on black radio stations, à la “Careless Whisper”-era George Michael(s). She’s down a few pounds from when she was at her commercial peak, but she’s still firmly within the range in which she’d appeal primarily to black men.
If she were a more attractive woman, people might not like the idea of her performing with Meek Mill. This may have occurred to Jay-Z, and if it did, it just goes to show what a sophisticated thinker he is. He might do away with police brutality just yet!
Take it easy on yourself,

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