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Music » RZA clarifies controversial statements on Black youth and police brutality

RZA clarifies controversial statements on Black youth and police brutality


Source: Relativity Media

Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA recently took to Twitter to clarify some controversial remarks he made about what Black youth should do to not scare police.

In an interview with Bloomberg earlier this week, the rapper and actor was asked his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement and the recent rash of high-profile cases of police officers using excessive and extreme force against people of color.

“When you think about some of the brothers who are being brutalized by the police, you also gotta have them take a look and us take a look in the mirror at the image we portray,” RZA said. “If I’m a cop and every time I see a young Black youth whether I watch him on TV, movies or just see them hanging out and they not looking properly dressed, properly refined, carrying themselves, conducting themselves at proper hours of the day, things that a man does. You’re gonna have a certain fear or stereotype of them. I tell my sons…I say, ‘If you’re going somewhere, you don’t have to wear a hoodie.’ We live in New York, so hoodies and that is all good, but sometimes button up your shirt, clean up. Look like a young man. You’re not a little kid. I think that’s another big issue we’ve got to pay attention to is the image that we portray that could invoke a fear into a White officer or to any officer.”

Many long-time fans took offense to those comments and quickly took RZA to task on social media calling him hypocritical and out of touch with his roots. Some fans even went so far as to create memes like the following:


Source: Facebook / allpowerfulallah

When the 46-year-old director of the upcoming movie, Breakout, sought to explain his remarks he emphasized that he didn’t want to be misconstrued as if he were condoning police brutality.


“I don’t expect agreement with everything I say,” RZA stated. “I speak honestly from my own perspective & evaluation from my space time experience. I could never condone police brutality or any form of injustice and oppression. Knowledge of self means studying self to improve self. Peace. I’m not condemning the kids for their garments. We live we should learn and evolve. When are we men at 21 or 41? Yea yea mon. Enough Rza badgering for the day. Add a button up shirt to your wardrobe. Of course Black lives matter.. All lives matter.”

What do you think? Was RZA’s original statement misunderstood and perhaps taken out of context or does he sound like someone who is too far removed from things and comes off as a bit out of touch?

1 Comment

  1. Bea on January 10, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    I do believe they were taken completely out of context. I viewed his comments Similar to the Tahenisi’s introspection on black men bearing the responsibility of good and bad blackness (Between The World) and received backlash until Toni Morrison affirmed his growth. Similar to Kendrick’s Rolling Stone interview last year tht received the same backlash for him imploring us to take responsibility. The reality is as a black woman living in Chicago’s chiraq we dnt know who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. I don’t fear the Fruit of Islam as they stand on 79th and Stony Island selling their goods. But the brother in rags concerns me. I don’t fear him but others may think and stereotype “What will a person in desperation and need do to be satisfied?” Regardless he was correct in saying police brutality is wrong but we, as the village, have a role and responsibility to building productive black citizens. People are ignorant and naive if they believe they can do wrong and dress in suits and ties and eliminate any police interaction. It is ignorant and naive to believe that all law abiding citizens are not interfacing with the law. It is also ignorant and naive of objective mediums to continuously mislead the people with fluffy bias. And it is even more ignorant and naive for law enforcement to brutalize a certain faction of our community because of our dress. EVERYBODY IS CONFUSED! Confusion begets chaos. Context provides clarity. We have a disenfranchised group who is very angry and it makes good ratings and readership when we are manipulated and controlled by emotional stimuli. We don’t watch the Klan hang our heroes we just hang them ourselves on social media because we are not a literate populace. We are contaminated by our own anger and looking for anyone to blame instead of taking an INDIVIDUAL assessment of ourselves to manifest the glory we have been promised in this land.