Eminem fires a salvo at Trump

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS - By Eu­gene Scott — Washington Post

Eminem says he’s draw­ing a line in the sand.

At the BET Hip Hop Awards, the hip-hop artist slammed Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump for poli­cies that Eminem con­sid­ers harm­ful to Amer­ica. He also had choice words for those of his fans who voted for Trump in 2016.

In the four-minute rap filmed in a Detroit carpark, the freestyle ti­tled “The Storm” saw Eminem pace the con­crete and call out Trump on is­sues in­clud­ing the NFL, white supremacy and North Korea.

The ti­tle and open­ing line is a ref­er­ence to Trump’s re­cent com­ment about “the calm be­fore the storm” at a din­ner with mil­i­tary lead­ers.

“Any fan of mine who’s a sup­porter of his/I’m draw­ing in the sand a line/You’re ei­ther for or against . . .”

Be­cause Eminem’s verse was laced with pro­fan­ity, we can’t re­peat it here, but read­ers can find it on­line.

It’s not sur­pris­ing Eminem doesn’t like Trump. Some of the loud­est crit­i­cism of the pres­i­dent in pop cul­ture comes from the hip-hop com­mu­nity. But here’s why the rap from Eminem, whom Trump pre­vi­ously called “a win­ner”, is res­onat­ing on so­cial me­dia.

Eminem, born Mar­shall Mathers, rose to fame af­ter start­ing his ca­reer in Detroit’s un­der­ground hip-hop scene. He was born to a teen mother in a white, work­ing­class fam­ily in a small town in Mis­souri. His fam­ily trav­elled of­ten, look­ing for work and sta­bil­ity, be­fore set­tling in a pri­mar­ily black, work­ing-class Detroit neigh­bour­hood where he dis­cov­ered the freestyle hip-hop bat­tle scene.

Much of Eminem’s suc­cess in the hip-hop world stemmed from never try­ing to hide his roots and the chaos that de­fined them.

But un­like many white, work­ing-class Trump sup­port­ers who count racism against whites as a big­ger is­sue than racism against peo­ple of colour, Eminem ac­knowl­edged many of the very real chal­lenges that black Amer­i­cans face when it comes to racism, po­lice vi­o­lence and ur­ban poverty.

Eminem ad­dressed that at var­i­ous points in the verse: “Now if you’re a black ath­lete, you’re a spoiled lit­tle brat for/Tryna use your plat­form or your stature/To try to give those a voice who don’t have one.”

Be­cause of his in­sight into the worlds of both work­ing­class whites and ur­ban blacks, Eminem is uniquely qual­i­fied to sum­marise how Trump plays to his base’s worst im­pulses about race in Amer­ica and ad­dress the real is­sues af­fect­ing all of Michi­gan’s res­i­dents — the poor ru­ral white vot­ers and the ur­ban black Detroi­ters still fight­ing for racial equity.

Trump won Michi­gan, a state Hil­lary Clin­ton and most ob­servers ex­pected would vote Demo­crat, like it had in ev­ery pres­i­den­tial elec­tion since 1988. But its white, work­ing-class vot­ers were drawn to Trump’s pop­ulist mes­sage.

Con­versely, some of Trump’s low­est ap­proval rat­ings are among black Amer­i­cans.

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