American hip-hop legend Nas penned an open letter against President Donald Trump, urging people to take action and outlining the racial prejudice faced by African Americans, in the New York magazine Mass Appeal.
The now 43 year old rapper (né Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones) described the historic and ongoing open racism practiced by many Americans today, including Trump. Though he heavily criticized Trump, Nas did go on to state that the country’s problems were far deeper than the controversial leader.
The star began his op-ed to Americans by highlighting the controversies surrounding disgraced American footballer O.J. Simpson.
“When you ignore the s**t that’s happening to people you can live in this fantasy, this American fantasy that you belong to… who?” questioned Nas. “You ignore what’s happening, and that gives you peace. Because what’s going on is enough to make people insane.” Before the murder case, Simpson was accused of shunning the black community in favour of cultivating an all-American image.
Nas went on to talk about the condition of African Americans in regards to Donald Trump and his position as President of the United States, even making the comparison to similarly racist leader Ronald Reagan.
“We all know a racist is in office,” he wrote. “People can talk their s**t. Comedians can sound racist. People can go through their moments of that s**t, but when you have the responsibility of being President and you carry on like that, you send a strong message to people outside of your group that they ain’t worth s**t.”
The rapper continued to criticise Trump but wrote that activists should create art rather than complain about the current U.S. president. He said that “My way of addressing these issues is through my work. Whatever president may be in office doesn’t affect my work directly. The way he affects people is what affects me. I observe what’s going on and that goes into my creative process. The person himself, I’m not caught up with. I don’t even have time for Trump or Pence. I don’t give a fuck.”
Nas maintained that his primary interest was art and art only, and that it would thrive regardless of the politics that surround it. He went on say that his music was a reflection of the power of art, and the power of the people to survive in difficult conditions.
“My focus is on what’s happening with real people in their everyday lives,” continued Nas. “How they behave, the decisions they make, and how that affects families. I grew up in a single-parent household, so I was affected by that life. But it didn’t stop me. So I speak to the everyday people. I speak to everybody. If the people are bothered by it, I speak on it. If the people are bothered and want change, I speak on that.”
He concluded his message with the words, ” So, I don’t got time for lippin’. I got time for actions. Anytime I’m speaking it’s action.”
Nas’ actions since Trump’s election include such tracks like last November’s “Wrote My Way Out,” in which the rapper collaborated Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dave East and Aloe Blacc for The Hamilton Mixtape, and last month’s “Angel Dust,” which comes from the soundtrack for Netflix’s original show The Getdown, for which Nas is an executive producer.