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Jay Z: ‘It’s Difficult to Teach Racism When Your Kid Looks Up to Snoop Dogg’

'The Blueprint' rapper talks about the civil rights movement and hip-hop's cultural impact for Oprah Winfrey's 'Master Class'


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Oprah Winfrey’s Emmy-nominated Master Class series spotlights dozens of iconic African-American writers, actors, musicians and more discussing the civil rights movement. In the latest episode, Jay Z talks about the role hip-hop music has played in diluting racial tensions in America. “Racism is taught in the home. I truly believe that racism is taught when you’re young,” Jay Z says. “So it’s very difficult to teach racism when your kid looks up to Snoop Doggy Dogg.”

“I have a very interesting take on the cultural impact of hip hop and it’s a strong one, so I just want to prepare people at home,” the rapper adds. “I think that hip hop has done more for cultural relations than most cultural icons. And I say save Martin Luther King because his ‘Dream’ speech we realized and President Obama got elected, but the impact of the music, this music didn’t only influence kids from urban areas; it influenced people around the world. People listen to this music all around the world and took to this music.”

Nearly a half-century after segregation was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, Jay Z argues that a nightclub encapsulates how the civil rights movement was victorious. “If you look at clubs and how integrated they have become – before people partied in separate clubs, there were hip-hop clubs and techno clubs – and now people party together,” the Roc Nation mogul says. “Once you have people partying, dancing, singing along to the same music, conversation naturally happen after that, and within conversation we all realize we’re more alike than we’re separate.”

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"Tamacun" (Rodrigo y Gabriela) by Shruti Naik & Ashar Kazi


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