Could Politics Be in Jay-Z's Future?
Drug dealer. Rapper. Businessman. Cultural icon. Jay-Z has come a long way from the gritty streets of New York City. Now, he is writing op-ed articles for The New York Times and making documentaries that raise awareness of social injustice.
Could politics be next for the man who was born Shawn Carter and once said, “I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid of not trying”?
At 48, Jay-Z is worth $800 million yet understands poverty. He grew up in Brooklyn’s drug-infested Marcy Projects and survived. He is a family man who cheated on his wife and asked for forgiveness, then went into therapy to heal himself and his relationship in public. His mom is a lesbian, and they are good friends.
Jay-Z is not who you think he is. He has money, power and compassion. He has been at war and found peace. He’s media savvy and fearless. He understands America and can relate to any American. He may be just who—and what—America needs to heal from 400 years of suffering and bring peace to the world.
Jay-Z is America. And he might be able to wake up the masses.
“The goal is not to be successful and famous. That’s not the goal,” Jay-Z said of being black in America during a recent New York Times interview with Dean Baquet, the paper’s executive editor. “The goal is, if you have a specific God-given ability, is to live your life out through that. One. And two, we have a responsibility to push the conversation forward until we’re all equal. Till we’re all equal in this place. Because until everyone’s free, no one’s free, and that’s just a fact.”
Jay-Z has been in the game a long time. He is one of the most successful musicians of all time, selling over 100 million records and winning 21 Grammy Awards. But unlike some U.S. leaders, his worldview has grown to be grounded in humility. Now, he has young children and wants a better future for them and future generations.
“And it’s just certain tools that you would hope for your child to have,” he explains. “You know, like, again, fairness and compassion and empathy and a loving heart. And those things translate in any environment. Those are the main base things that you want—well, for me, I would want my child to have. You know? Treat people as they are, no matter who they are, no matter where they sit in the world, not to, like, be super nice to someone at a high position or mean to someone who they’ve deemed to be below them. I can’t buy you love, I can’t show it to you. I can show you affection and I can, you know, I can express love, but I can’t put it in your hand. I can’t put compassion in your hand. I can’t show you that. So the most beautiful things are things that are invisible. That’s where the important things lie.”
As he approaches 50, Jay-Z continues to stay relevant and evolve. He leads the 2018 Grammy nominations with eight, as rap and R&B take center stage at the annual celebration of music.
The world needs unifying voices of compassion and healing now more than ever. Jay-Z’s heart and soul may be able help America find its humanity.
Jay-Z is fair in his assessment of Barack Obama and believes America’s first black president lived up to expectations.
“Yes, because all he could do was the best he can do. He’s not a superhero,” Jay-Z said of Obama, during his conversation with Baquet. “And it’s unfair to place unfulfillable expectations on this man just because of his color. You’re actually doing the opposite. It’s like, what do you think is gonna happen? He’s there for eight years. And he has to undo what 43 presidents have done. In eight years. That’s not fair.”
That response shows Jay-Z has masterful diplomatic skills. And if a Hollywood movie actor like Ronald Reagan or a reality TV show conman like Donald Trump can be president of the United States, there’s no reason a poet and humanist like Jay-Z couldn’t sit in the Oval Office and call the White House home.
“Usually, when things are darkest, light is on its way,” he said of the current state of America, in an interview with BBC Radio 1. “I am not fearful. I believe that we are resilient. We’ve been, especially us as black people, especially the culture, we’ve been through so much more than this guy [Donald Trump]. You know, I’m looking at him, like this is a joke. … He’s not a very sophisticated man, especially when it comes to the ideas. … Until everyone is free, no one is free.”
It does not matter that Jay-Z has no prior government experience. All that matters is if he could put more money in the paychecks of the 99 percent, make the trains work safely, create a more fair and just country, and ensure a sustainable planet.
In fact, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter might do the job better than anyone in history.
Jay-Z in 2020?
Only in America.