Wu-Tang mastermind, RZA (born Robert Fitzgerald Diggs) was featured on Bloomberg Politics on January 6th and sparked particular interest on social media for what he had to say.
On 2016 Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump:
“Trump keeps it real, I think somebody like Hillary Clinton as our next president—I like that. When you think about the history and trajectory of our country, from the beginning of the founding. You know, we’ve seen a black man as a president, that means a lot in this country. And then, a woman as a president: to me that’s a one-two punch.”
He went on to add that Trump was a “smart dude,” but he would rather have Trump run a company than the country. “Unless somebody tell me: America is nothing but a big company.” He joked.
On President Barack Obama:
“Before he was president, I traveled the world, and it wasn’t even kinda cool to be an American. People was very snobby against us, because of the way that Mr. Bush was running our country.”
“[now] it’s cool to be American again, baby, People don’t know how much that means to citizens like us, who are in a celebrity position, who represents the country through our culture and through our art.”
And on Police Brutality:
“I love what the police do for our society, I love the idea of it, to serve and protect. Those who are upholding that idea, then they are beneficial to society. But those who lose that focus, whether they lose it through fear, through stress, or through not being properly trained—and they are allowed to go out on the streets—how can you enforce law if you don’t understand law?
When you think about some of the brothers who are being brutalized by the police, you also got to have them take a look, and us take a look , in the mirror, at the image we portray. If I’m a cop and every time I see a young black youth, whether I watch them on TV, movies, or just see them hanging out, and they’re not looking properly dressed, properly refined, you know, carrying himself, conducting himself proper hours of the day—things that a man does, you’re going to have a certain fear and 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 a hoodie and all that is all good. But sometimes, you know, button up your shirt. Clean up. Look like a young man. You’re not a little kid, you know what I mean? I think that’s another big issue we gotta pay attention to. Is the image that we portray that could invoke a fear into a white officer, or any officer.”
The RZA’s comments predictably attracted attention on social media. Donald Trump is seen as a divisive figure to many around the world so the RZA’s remarks were met with some confusion.
RZA: “Trump keeps it real.” AAAAAAAA my ears are bleeding
— David Z. Morris (@davidzmorris) January 6, 2016
— Tameka (BloggerPoet) (@tamstarz) January 6, 2016
Also, the RZA’s comments on police brutality seem to invoke ideas of “respectability politics.”
RZA has some great nerve to get on television and promote respectability politics.
— PantheR (@____PantheR) January 7, 2016
RZA preaching respectability politics is heartbreaking because with the proper insight he could be using his platform for much more
— J. Sanchez (@imJSanch) January 7, 2016
But not everyone found the RZA’s remarks as concerning, highlighting the diversity of opinion out there.
rza said polic have a fear of men dressed a certain way and thats a fact
— Zaire (@DJZeeti) January 7, 2016
I agree with RZA fundamentally, on the presentability of black youth, but not wearing a hoodie for fear of thw police is promoting fear
— BruddaChuck (@bruddachuck) January 6, 2016
The full interview and more videos including the clip on police brutality can be found here.