When looking at comedy or public ridicule in general, the rule of thumb is simple: punch up. You are more likely to see a comedian hailing from a lower socioeconomic background making fun of the rich and elite than you are to see the inverse. The reason for this is because punching down is …well, I’ll let you see for yourself.
I am a firm believer in the notion that celebrities are not role models. We, society collectively, tend to stick a microphone in a famous entertainer’s face with this assumption that they are suddenly well versed in any and all topics. If an actor, comedian, athlete or musician doesn’t have anything of substance to add to a news story, it is better to have them sit this one out than to open their mouth and let the world know just how ignorant and feeble-minded they possibly are.
The response to the question asked to A$AP Rocky was exactly that and it sounds as if it came from someone that was young and dumb. I also think Rocky, and most young people in the ‘limelight’, should be allowed to make that mistake.
Not to get too far into my Shea Butter bag but I think the world has a way of evening out the odds from time to time. A little something called karma. It is exactly due to karma that I even take the stance to not kick Rocky while he’s down. You just never know what situations you may end up in and how if tables turn, you may end up with your foot in your mouth.
50 vs Wendy Williams
Case in point: 50 Cent vs Wendy Williams. Here was someone (Wendy) who has made a career of gossip and blind judgments, suddenly on the receiving end with news of her divorce—and its inner details—going public.
Even in this example, I am not asking for anyone to take pity on A$AP Rocky. His comments were cringeworthy and one can argue people are simply giving him back the same energy he put out in that interview.
For the uninitiated, Rocky was involved in an altercation in Sweden. Pitchfork has a perfect outline of the events that have caused the interview quote to resurface. However what brought this entire Rocky reaction battle to my attention was Beef.
The tweet embedded above comes from Crissle of The Read, a popular hip-hop and pop culture podcast that was nominated for a BET Social Award for Best Podcast in 2018. The podcast they lost out on the award to, The Joe Budden Podcast, is the other combatant in this story. In the latest episode of his podcast, Joe responded to Crissle and others that have used Rocky’s quote in response to the dilemma the Harlem rapper is currently in.
As I chimed in on Twitter, both sides have a point. Can I blame anyone that wants Rocky to sleep in the bed he made? No. Given the manner he chose to address a matter like the events that unfolded in Ferguson, it is hopefully a lesson to him. Rocky’s comment came across in a “I’m not Black, I’m OJ” sort of tone and I’m sure if there’s any experience in 30 years of life that has let him know definitively that he’s Black, it’s this one.
Yet, two things can be true at once. You are allowed to reprimand Rocky for his comment and also feel for what has been described as “inhumane conditions” that the A$AP Mob frontman is facing. With little else to think of besides a strong desire to get back to the States, I’m sure those comment is fresh in Rocky’s mind. I’m sure he regrets it. I’m sure he’d be the first to point out that his comment probably won’t grant him much sympathy amongst people—particularly those directly impacted by Ferguson. I’m sure if he could do it over, he would.
Although the toothpaste is out of the tube in terms of his comment, is it truly imperative to drag him anymore than what Sweden appears to be doing?
If you want to hold Rocky accountable, he’s a public figure beholden to what his perception is and you can certainly show your disapproval by not streaming his album or purchasing a ticket for his tour.
Where I draw the line is linking that comment, no matter how stupid and nearsighted, to what has the potential to be a multi-year prison sentence in another country.
That, to me, feels almost as heavy-handed and out of touch as Rocky’s Ferguson take was.