Eminem appeared on “60 Minutes” last night, and, when anti-bullying advocate and journalist Anderson Cooper questioned the controversial rapper about his misogynist and homophobic lyrics, Eminem gave a rather shocking reply to the question, stating he was “attacked” on his violent lyricism towards women and the LGBT community because he’s a White rapper.
The 37-year-old Detroit emcee said, “I didn’t invent saying offensive things,” and suggested that Black rappers aren’t singled out the way he has been.
“I felt like I was being singled out, and I felt like, is it the color of my skin?” The rapper continued, “There’s certain rappers that do and say the same things that I’m saying, and I don’t see no one saying anything about that.”
This is actually disappointing and demonstrates how entitled Eminem is. To suggest that he’s been attacked because he’s White is ridiculous and simply untrue. Black male hip hop performers have been “attacked” for their lyricism from the very beginnings of the musical form.
Some of the earliest examples of government and community angst against hip hop’s sometimes derogatory lyricism is N.W.A. The Compton-based 80’s group was confronted by government officials, and was actually banned from several mainstream U.S. radio stations and networks like MTV because of their lyrics.
We can also cite controversy with Ice T, 2 Live Crew, and Tupac—whose lyrics prompted public court hearings. These artists who have clearly inspired Eminem. Contemporary examples are with his own signee 50 Cent, and artists such as T.I. and Kanye West, among others, who constantly receive criticism because of their lyrics or public statements.
Eminem’s response is an extension of modern White male privilege. He has rhymed hateful and disturbing lyrics about women and gay people, consistently using words like “bitch” and “fag.” He should take responsibility like most Black rappers have instead of complaining about it.
Does he think he should be somehow exempt because of the color of his skin?
Watch the interview here! Cooper discusses Eminem’s lyrics around the 8:20 mark.