Over the past year, the Occupy Wall Street movement has become a major topic of discussion. People are angry, and they have every right to be. Greed, corruption, and predatory lending caused the financial crisis of 2008, seriously threatening the global financial economy. To make matters worse, the social mobility in American society doesn’t exist like it used to. Many critics are worried that the American dream is dead. Politicians are out of touch with the people, unemployment is high, and our economy is still struggling.
Last weekend, Jay-Z was interviewed by the NY Times’ Zadie Smith. She asked him how he felt about the OWS movement. He said,
“ What’s the thing on the wall, what are you fighting for? I’m not going to a park and picnic, I have no idea what to do I don’t know what the fight is about. What do we want, do you know?”
He later added,
“I think all those things need to really declare themselves a bit more clearly. Because when you just say that “the one percent is that,” that’s not true. Yeah, the 1 percent that’s robbing people and deceiving people, these fixed mortgages and all these things, and then taking their home away from them, that’s criminal, that’s bad. Not being an entrepreneur. This is free enterprise. This is what America is built on.”
Jay-Z’s public support could mean so much to a movement like Occupy Wall Street. Earlier this year, Jay-Z sold T-shirts off his Rocawear clothing line that said “Occupy All Streets” He did not donate any of the proceeds to the movement, which seemed odd. Now we know why, he simply does not support it.
His good friend Russell Simmons wrote an Op-Ed in response.
“I listened to the young people talk about their 99 problems. The 99 percent. Healthcare reform. Prison industrial complex. The war machine. Bad schools. Lack of access to affordable higher education. Genetically modified food. Gay rights. Immigration reform. Crumbling housing projects. Climate change. Every day, there was a new protestor with a new sign, fighting for the rights of the under-served. There was never an official agenda or media-friendly talking points. Zuccotti Park and the Occupy camps that sprung up around the country were places for any and every person to come and share ideas about how to better perfect our union. Our democracy.”
“ So, Jay, here’s the deal. You’re rich and I’m rich. But, today it’s close to impossible to be you or me and get out of Marcy Projects or Hollis, Queens without changing our government to have our politicians work for the people who elect them and not the special interests and corporations that pay them. Because we know that these special interests are nothing special at all. In fact, they spend millions of dollars destroying the fabric of the black community and make billions of dollars in return…if we have to occupy Wall Street or occupy All Streets to change the course of direction of this nation, then we must. We must take our democracy off the market and let the world know that it is no longer for sale! Mic check! “
You can read the rest of Simmons Op Ed by following this link.