Jay-Z is on the cusp of being 50 years old and, with age, he’s become even more political. As if to make a point of it, he lobbed a few verbal darts at President Donald Trump over the weekend.
Ahead of the Grammy Awards on Sunday, the rapper appeared on the Van Jones Show on CNN. Jones, a management client of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, set up a few easy questions so the rapper could talk about Trump. To set it off, Jones asked Jay-Z what he thought about Trump’s “shithole countries” comment. President Trump made the comment earlier this month in reference to El Salvador, Haiti and African nations during a private meeting on immigration.
In response, Jay-Z called Trump a “superbug” of racism. The president, as he tends to do, then responded to Jay-Z’s appearance on CNN by tweeting about black unemployment.
“Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!” Trump’s Twitter account blasted the next day.
Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 28, 2018
Jones mentioned to Jay-Z that under Trump, blacks are faring better than in previous years with a 6.8 percent unemployment rate. The Brooklyn rapper shot back that it’s more than about the money.
“Money doesn’t equate to happiness. It doesn’t. That’s missing the whole point. You treat people like human beings. That’s the main point. It goes back to the whole thing—’treat me really bad and pay me well.’ It’s not going to lead to happiness, it’s going to lead to, again, the same thing. Everyone’s going to be sick,” he said during the interview.
On Jay-Z’s Grammy-nominated 4:44 album, he talks about wealth in the black community. “The rapper hints that people should instead focus on making investments that could help them build lasting wealth,” the Washington Post said about the money themes on the album.
Regardless of Jay-Z’s comments about money, news analysts were quick to point out that Trump can’t take credit for the rate of black unemployment, which has been steadily declining since 2010. It seemed as though Trump left the issue alone after that, at least as far as sharing his thoughts via Twitter. But the issue of Jay-Z vs Donald came up again on Monday.
“Why did he take issue with Jay-Z then?” a reporter asked during the daily White House press briefing. The official response was that Trump is trying to make life better for everyone, not just blacks and Hispanics. Of course, it’s obvious Jay-Z would wholeheartedly disagree.