Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Hold Nothing Back On: White Guilt, Black Twitter and Responsibility


Video and photo by PVA Ent

After a few years in the game and being awarded with titles such as Best Rap Song at the Grammy’s in 2014 and the MTV award for Best Hip-Hop Video in 2013, Macklemore is finally using his platform to address the controversy surrounding his success.

If you haven’t kept up with everything that’s happened since he’s entered the game, many people in our Hip-Hop community feel as if he’s taken our culture, style of music and way of life to become successful off of it so easily due to his “white privilege”.

He’s been criticized and has even been told numerous amounts of times that he didn’t deserve that Grammy or MTV award simply because Rap and Hip-Hop are considered to be a “black privilege”.

Hip-Hop has evolved over time but yet, we’re still surrounded by many closed minded people who only see the color of some one’s skin. In their eyes, that color alone determines if they should be accepted in our community or not.

This topic of conversation is always very touchy considering that most of the people in our community are calling the non-Black artists “culture vultures” in the sense that they mock our entire being for money but don’t speak up when tragedy actually takes place within our black communities.

Well, it seems that Macklemore has been enduring this kind of discrimination for long enough to where he felt it necessary to speak up and let everyone know that he cares about black lives just as much as we do, regardless of his White Privilege.

In his recently released “White Privilege II” Macklemore toys back & forth with whether or not he should continue to accept the great feedback from his music although influenced by Hip-Hip while he knows many of his supporters don’t care about Black Lives or should he use his platform to let all of these people know how important it is for us to break down that barrier.

Take a listen:

Sway refers to the song as “one of the most powerful, impactful, honest, uncomfortable, emotional” songs he’s ever heard. “It forces people to think,” said Sway.

Now, we’ve had the amazing opportunity to have Macklemore and Ryan Lewis stop by our offices to speak with us about these issues and clarify their stance on the important matters that take place in our society.

Macklemore opens the conversation by shedding light on his music making process and that yes, he uses different sounds and genres of music to make his own production but he always reaches out to the originators of that specific sound and asks them to be apart of it or at least for permission to use that sound.

It didn’t take too much time for the conversation to turn into one the dissects the inspiration behind the song and why Ryan and Macklemore decided to take on the role as advocates with their music.

Macklemore says that he felt it necessary to “not shy away from” the topic of cultural appropriation “but to step into it”.

Sway goes on to ask the group whether or not they think by them being white and speaking on these issues, would white people listen?

Ryan explains that the main purpose of the song was to inserts themselves into the conversation in the most authentic way possible.

The song is a really big deal in our as well as their opinion because while black people are well aware of things that go on amongst each other, the other demographics seem to be blinded by how important it is for these issues to be addressed.

This interview may be by far the most interesting one of the year… Check it out and please feel free to comment your opinions below.


The conversation starts with us.


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  • Kirsten Lambertsen

    Mind, expanded! I’ll be sharing this program over and over for the foreseeable future. Thank you so much for this *beautiful* discussion. I think you’re right; this song is going to mark a pivotal moment for the struggle.

    This is my first exposure to Sway’s Universe. What a mind blowing introduction it is! Thank you for your great work.