Photo by Ben Kaye
Thanks to the Internet, we all know everyone’s opinion on our current Cheeto in Chief. Open Facebook, flip through SnapChat, or even scan your favorite pop culture site, and you’re bound to bump into someone gripping about something related to 45. But in a new op-ed for Mass Appeal, Nas sidesteps all the noise to promote one, well-worn maxim: actions speak louder than words.
In his short op-ed, the rapper a.k.a. Nasir Jones states his belief that while “we all know a racist is in office,” the best way to handle it is not to confront it directly, but to deal with the ramifications on the streets. “My way of addressing these issues is through my work,” he writes. “Whatever president may be in office doesn’t affect my work directly. The way he affects people is what affects me. I observe what’s going on and that goes into my creative process. The person himself, I’m not caught up with. I don’t even have time for Trump or Pence. I don’t give a fuck.”
Having grown up in a single-parent household during the Reagan-era, Nas says he’s lived through a time when black voices were marginalized. What’s different now is that he’s older, wiser, and more in tune to what’s happening in the country. “But in reality, art is gonna thrive regardless. Whether it’s affected by who’s in office or not, art thrives,” he continues. “I live in that—I live in those walls, I live in those wires, I live in those pencils and papers, and that sound. I’m not caught up in politics. I saw Gerald Ford and his vice president Nelson Rockefeller. I saw Jimmy Carter. I saw Ronald Reagan, and I saw George Bush, Sr. I saw Bill Clinton, George Bush, Jr., and Barack Obama. I’m good.”
Nas ends his piece by acknowledging that people out there are angry, and they have every right to be. He compares it to ’80s policies that “ruthlessly destroyed the black community, put tons of us in prison on trumped-up charges, and put us in jail for a long time over crimes that other people get a smack on the hand for.” However, Nas has some advice for people feeling that rage swell inside them and wanting to spit their vitriol at 45:
“I read Eastern philosophy as a teen, so I see balance in everything, I have a cooler head because of it. If I could do that then, now we can save many more, ya dig? Especially in this day and age with all the resources we have, all the information of the Information Age. And that’s whether Trump’s in office or not. So, I don’t got time for lippin’. I got time for actions. Anytime I’m speaking it’s action.”
Read his entire essay over at Mass Appeal.