Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lupe isn't a Fiasco

“I think I’m Malcom X, Martin Luther/ Add a King, Add a Jr.” –Lupe Fiasco Building Minds Faster (B.M.F.)

Recently, Lupe Fiasco has been catapulted to national media attention, not (just) for his music but his political commentary. Two weeks ago on an internet interview with CBS Fiasco said, “To me the biggest terrorist is Obama in the United States of America. I'm trying to fight the terrorism that's causing the other forms of terrorism. You know the root cause of terrorists is the stuff the U.S. government allows to happen. The foreign policies that we have in place in different countries that inspire people to become terrorists." While this set off a firestorm of angry comments and media attention about Lupe’s uncritical eye and virulent condemnation of the continuing trope of Barack Obama as a terrorist, most of these comments miss the mark. Lupe Fiasco, as his name signals, routinely finds himself in controversial positions that are both contradictory and illuminating at the same time. Lupe’s comments about Obama and politics, in a way, channel Malcolm X’s and Martin Luther King Jr’s political commentary.

In November of 1963, Malcolm X commented on President John F. Kennedy’s assassination by suggesting the violence that took Kennedy’s life were “chickens coming home to roost.” At this time, Kennedy was thought of as a friendly president to Black folks and ultimately this became a wedge comment that alienated him from many Black Americans who identified as politically progressives but found his comments irresponsible given the contentious political climate.