Beyond a reported superficial explanation from producer Kanye West stating, “This is what people need to see to go along with this music, I’mma pay for dat,” the triggering image seems to only serve as a cheap shock factor for album promotion.
As Pusha-T relishes in his round two knockout of fellow rapper Drake in one of the most heated rap battles of the decade, we need to take a moment to level with the Virginia native: a Black woman’s pain should not be leveraged to promote your music. This “artwork” constantly being used to push T’s album sales makes a mockery of an addiction that ended Whitney Houston’s life.
The irony is, T’s latest lyrical jabs at Drake are centered around a 2007 image of the actor turned rapper propped up in Black face. The photo served as the cover of T’s diss track, ‘The Story Of Adidon,’ which reportedly outed Drake for fathering a secret child and accused the Canadian rapper of being uncomfortable in his Blackness.
“Confused, always felt you weren’t Black enough, afraid to grow it ’cause your fro wouldn’t nap enough,” T spits on the ferocious track. His lyrics, paired with this historically offensive caricature of Blackness, seems to be the death knell of any validity Drake earned in hip-hop since he arrived on the scene.
Although Drake recently defended the photo, saying he participated in the shoot eleven years ago as a way to bring awareness to how Black people are stereotyped in media, the G.O.O.D music H.N.I.C continues to take shots at Drake’s Blackness:
“You are silent on all black issues, Drake…. ” Pusha said in a recent radio interview. “You don’t stand for nothing, you don’t say nothing about nothing.”
But Pusha, where is all this energy when it comes to the pain you are inflicting on a Black family by using this “artwork” on your press runs?
Whitney’s estate recently blasted the photo, with Whitney’s cousin Damon Elliot explaining the gut wrenching moment he saw the image.
“I immediately got sick to my stomach because it took me right back to six years ago,” Elliot told People.
“I was actually in shock because I’m in the music business. I’ve watched the train wreck happening, but I didn’t think [Kanye would] go this far in invading someone’s family privacy.”
Pusha, do Black issues not extend to the pain of a Black family? What about Black women?
But that covering is rarely extended back to us, as we remain one of the most disrespected demographics in this country. Pusha and Kanye unapologetically using an image of addiction—that led to the tragic death one of the greatest voices of our time–is a microcosm of a bigger issue: protecting Black women is never a priority.
Pusha, take the dust of hypocrisy out of your eye. You can’t blast another man for not defending Blackness when your own album cover exploits one of our own.