Macklemore Spoke with Activist DeRay Mckesson About His Intent Behind "White Privilege II"

"Macklemore understands that awareness is the beginning, not the end, of the work," McKesson wrote.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Macklemore's new single, "White Privilege II," has got a lot of people talking. While a few listeners were briefly distracted by Iggy Azalea's clapback to Mack's having mentioned her on the song, others took to social media to hash out the larger issues that the Seattle rapper addresses on "White Privilege II."

Today, the prominent #BlackLivesMatter activist DeRay Mckesson revealed that he and Macklemore spoke for an hour via phone this morning to discuss context and core critique of "White Privilege II." In a statement to Complex, Mckesson said that Macklemore's song will, "at its best, invite people into a conversation re: race who may not have been in the conversation before with the goal of bringing awareness that changes behavior.​"

"Awareness is an important first step, a precursor to action," Mckesson said. "This song is continuing to bring awareness to the issue of white privilege and its impact."

Read DeRay Mckesson's tweet-readout of his conversation with Macklemore, below.

When I first heard Macklemore's new song, White Privilege II, I DM'd him asking if he'd be down to talk. We talked for an hour this morning.
As I've said from the beginning, I think Macklemore's song is important. And all art, including his song, is open to critique.
We talked about the impetus for the song & he noted that it was Darren Wilson's non-indictment & the protests that pushed him to write.
& Macklemore understands that awareness is the beginning, not the end, of the work. He will be (rightly) judged by the actions that follow.
I noted that the Kendrick text situation informs a reading of the current song. He both understood that & reflected on how he's grown since.
In our convo, I got the sense that Macklemore is using this song both to process a complex idea & to push folks to think/act differently.
& we talked about how the very privileging of whiteness he addresses creates imbalanced exposure for a message many have said before.
I left the call with Macklemore w/ a deeper understanding of his intent and his commitment to actions that reflect his awareness.
And Macklemore's song is not above critique, he knows this. It should be critically engaged. All art should be critically engaged.
At least listen to Macklemore's new song before you @ me telling me that I couldn't be more wrong for thinking it's important.
Awareness is the beginning, not the end, of this work. I don't think that message came across as clear to some folks

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