Yelawolf Owes Us All An Apology

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Everyone is entitled to their own opinion…this is mine.

Back when Yelawolf and Lord Jamar had their disagreement over a statement Jamar made on VladTV in regards to white people being “visitors in the house of Hip-Hop,” my first reaction was “Meh.” At the time, Hip-Hop outlets were constantly flipping statements made by Jamar (a Hip-Hop legend) into clickbait articles (slow news period?). Any headline that read “Lord Jamar says…” had to be taken with a grain of salt. I had very little interest in Yelawolf either. While I wouldn’t disrespect his rapping ability like others have, his style (flow mainly) didn’t appeal to me. Being in the “industry” however, I couldn’t fully ignore what was going on, so I glanced over the situation. Based on his response, I gained more respect for Yelawolf as a person. Did I 100% agree with everything he said? Nah… but I respected his point of view. I was then reminded of Yelawolf’s response to V-Nasty’s use of the word “nigga.” Whether or not I’m a fan of someone’s music doesn’t influence how I view them as a person and I respected Yelawolf for who he appeared to be as a man. All of this makes his recent outbursts in defense of the confederate flag harder to understand.

Ain’t no way I’m letting some ones ignorance tear me from my roots .. you fucking fuck boys can save it with this anti Dixie SHIT !! .. You media succubus in fashion and news are taking full advantage of yourself’s business .. Not knowing at all the damage you’re creating by giving a false impression of who we are in the South .. We’re GOOD PEOPLE !!! .. We love our small towns and we love our folks .. For me and me only I’ll tell you like this … Rip DIME BAG DARRELL !! and Long live PANTERA !! .. Long live Lynyrd Skynyrd !!… Long Live Dukes of Hazard . .And mother FUCKER … The DIXIE WILL NEVER DIE !! … Do you want Me to mention my black inspirations on the Dixie side .. like Big Gipp who I saw in a full Dixie Flag outfit at Madison Square Garden in 05 ? , or Andre 3000 rocking a Dixie Flag Belt buckle in ” Sorry ms Jackson ? ” , maybe little Jhon or Pastor Troy who rocked the Dixie Flag in a protest against ignorance ? … I saw the GROWTH and the POWER !! NOT THE DEMISE !!! And here we have these fucking yuppies from the west coast and world wide jumping on this band wagon .. Who know NOTHING ABOUT US .. Other than the movies and misrepresented news reels they see .. Lied too at school and at home .. Further deepening the injury of social perception .. With this wack ass image of a burning Dixie Flag …. Fuck that !! … Well I can tell you that a #slumerican will never support you .. We’re beyond you all .. More open and way more prepared than you are DIXIE !!! @savetheconfederateflag #slumerican

-Yelawolf via Instagram

imrsWhen I first read Yelawolf’s comments I struggled attempting to determine which part was the most ignorant. First of all, let’s ignore the fact that the “rebel flag” flew during a war which the confederates LOST where they “rebelled” against the Union with their main grievance being the Union’s lack of support for their system of slavery. Yeah, we’re gonna skip right past that. We’ll also look past the Pantera reference. Instead, let’s start by focusing on the recent fights against the confederate flag. While Yelawolf claims people are attempting to give a false impression of who people are in the South, the actual fight was to stop state endorsement of the flag whether it be removing it from state buildings or stop states from printing license plates bearing the confederate flag. The reinvigorated push against the flag can be traced to South Carolina where after the racially charged murder of 9 black people in a church, people began to speak out against the presence of the confederate flag at the capitol building. While Yelawolf claims in another Instagram post it’s about history, the flag at the South Carolina statehouse has only been flying since 1961. It rose during a celebration of confederate history. During this celebration, blacks were denied entrance into most of the events, Sen. John D. Long praised the Klu Klux Klan, and Sen. Strom Thurmond, elected off a campaign that promoted segregation, is quoted as saying nowhere in the U.S. Constitution “does it hint a purpose to insure equality of man or things.” This is the history of the specific flag that relaunched the conversation.

“There are grandparents alive today whose parents went through a war. We’re just out of the slave trade. It’s a very real situation, you don’t take that shit lightly.Hip-Hop…American music culture is black culture. Don’t ever get it fucked up. Know your roots, know who the fuck you’re getting this music from and respect it. And don’t embarrass white people and white rappers by doing that dumb shit by dropping the N-bomb, thinking you’re all cool and shit. You’re gonna find yourself slapped up, and it might be by a white boy.”
-Yelawolf in response to white female rapper V-Nasty’s use of the word “nigga”

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While Yelawolf blames “fuck boys,” “the media in fashion and news,” and “fucking yuppies from the west coast and world wide jumping on this band wagon,” the recent fight against the confederate flag has been led by the South itself. The conversations among southern states originate from southern politicians, mostly in response to the complaints of southern people, mainly Black people — and therein lies my major issue with Yelawolf’s rants. Yelawolf completely ignores, be it intentionally (likely) or out of ignorance (unlikely), that the conflicts with the confederate flag often originate from Black people being offended by it’s symbolism whether it’s symbolic of the slave holding confederates or white supremacy movements who have co-opted it to represent their racist causes. Who the hell is Yelawolf to tell them they can’t be offended? Let’s take it a step further. How is his take on the confederate flag not contradicting his take on white rappers using the word “nigga?” Just as Yelawolf points to Black people who have worn the confederate flag on their clothing, the most common argument used in defense of whites using the word nigga is the word’s usage by Blacks. Seriously, what stops Post Malone or V-Nasty from using the “outsiders don’t understand where I’m from” defense for saying the word nigga? That’s essentially what V-Nasty did. Worse still, as much as Yela derides those who are offended by the flag, not once does he attack hate mongers who have co-opted his precious “rebel flag” to represent their movements. In another one of his rants, Yelawolf says “You want me to take responsibility for acts of crime and hate for which I had no involvement… I will not.” No one is asking Yelawolf to do anything like that. Instead, they are asking that he understand how a group of people, the same group of people he claims other white rappers should respect for creating Hip-Hop culture, could be offended by the confederate battle flag, what it represented originally, and what it has come to represent. While he’s responded with anger aimed at those offended, he lacks that emotion toward those who have used his beloved flag for hate.

Lastly, Yelawolf seems to have a lot of vitriol for Californians in his multiple attacks aimed at those offended by the confederate flag. When the company behind the shirt featured in his original rant allegedly hit him with a cease and desist order to remove the shirt from his Instagram, he referred to it as “typical L. A. shit.” So, in response to claiming to be misunderstood by outsiders, Yelawolf passes judgement on a large group of people he has no connection to– Californians. Remember, he also made mention of the “yuppies from the west coast” who “jumped on the bandwagon.” As a Californian, let me be clear, that’s not “typical L. A. shit.” Yelawolf’s assumptions in regards to what makes up Los Angeles says more about where he stays when he comes here and where he doesn’t go. Trust, those yuppies he speaks of are nowhere near where I’m from. Furthermore, without L. A., there’d be no Dr. Dre, which would mean no Aftermath, which would mean no Shady. Again, Yelawolf is biting the hand that feeds him.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion but that doesn’t prevent Yelawolf’s from being ignorant and disrespectful– ignorant of what’s really going on with the issue he’s attempting to address and disrespectful to the people who created the culture which has provided a living for him. Regardless of what the flag means to him as a white male from the South, he should have been more knowledgeable of how others feel about the flag, why they feel how they feel about the flag, and how his words would be received before he started typing away. The least he could do is apologize. Not just to Black people who are offended by the confederate battle flag, not just to Californians who, in response to feeling like he was being labeled unfairly, he labeled unfairly, but to Hip-Hop as well.

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Eastside Long Beach's finest. Co-Host of Reality is Real Radio on 90.7 FM Los Angeles, Every Thursday night/Friday morning at Midnight. Host of "Cleats, Dimes and Strikes" and "The Rappity Rap Ass Podcast" @ Soundcloud.com/RealityisReal. Catch me on Twitter @ RisRBruce, on Facebook @ RisRBruce

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