When will people learn to speak about others respectfully? Why is it so hard for some white people to see African-American’s like someone or something outside of a decent human being? Today’s lesson is brought to you by Tina Knowles-Lawson, who had a less-than-pleasant encounter with a woman who chose to speak ill of her son-in-law, Jay-Z.
Tina Knowles-Lawson (for those who may happen to have lived under a rock for the last twenty-five years) is the mother of two legendary and historical women: Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Solange Knowles. In keeping with our trip down memory lane, Beyonce and rapper Jay-Z began their relationship in, or around, 2002 and married in 2008.
Jay-Z is not only considered to be one of the greatest Hip-Hop artists ever to do it, but he’s also widely successful as a businessman. Born Sean Carter, the rapper’s movements throughout his storied career have made him become one of the most pivotal figures in not just the African-American community but in the world. Much of his actions have been motivated by pushing the African-American community forward while he has shifted the needle with many of his other ventures.
However, for as much as the Brooklyn native has done to provide positive change, many won’t let Jay-Z’s past go. From his critically-acclaimed, award-winning bars to the various accounts of his life story, Jay-Z has not shied away from many dark moments of his life. But as history has shown, the Chairman and Founder of Roc-Nation has more than turned his life around.
But that’s neither here nor there. Historically, an unfortunately high percentage (if not all) of the African-American community has suffered from stereotyping or racism of some sort. As Jay-Z once stated in his 2017 released single, “The Story Of O.J.,” you could be light, dark, rich, or poor. But, unfortunately, to many of them, you’re still a [expletive]
Like many who came up in underprivileged communities, Jay-Z was ‘street pharmacist’ as a youngin’ to survive. In a 2013 interview with Vanity Fair’s Lisa Robinson, the rapper explained his lifestyle growing up, calling it a “tough situation.” In the interview, Jay-Z recalled to Robinson that he would watch his mother struggle with miscellaneous household bills while experiencing the utilities at their residence shut off at times due to nonpayment. Coupled with the shame of having to go to school and face other children with tattered or old clothing, a young Sean Carter set out to change his family’s situation in the best way that he knew how.
According to Jay-Z, narcotics were everywhere and inescapable. Admittedly, while he was engaging in the sale of the illegal substance, the rapper shared that he felt no guilt at the time. “I was thinking about surviving,” he confessed. “I was thinking about improving my situation.” It wasn’t until later, when he “realized the effects on the community,” that he would begin to feel ashamed.
In Tina Knowles-Lawson’s new docuseries “Profiled: The Black Man,” which she also executive produces, she discusses the generations of harmful behavior that many in the African-American community face daily. During a segment on the inaugural episode, Knowles-Lawson recalls sitting next to an older white woman on an airplane who referred to her son-in-law as a “gangster rapper.” Then, not knowing when enough is enough, the woman proceeds to ask Mrs. Knowles-Lawson boldly, “How did you let him marry your daughter?”
Tina Knowles-Lawson expressed that the question from the older white woman was “shocking” to her. However, she went ahead to correct the woman’s ignorance. “I said, ‘No. Actually, my son is a CEO,” said Knowles-Lawson. Noticing that the woman chose not to view Jay-Z as either a CEO or a talented musician, Knowles-Lawson revealed that at the time, she couldn’t be mad at her. According to Beyonce’s mother, it is the media’s fault for carrying the stereotype about African-American men. “That is typical of the things that they would focus on,” she said to CBS This Morning‘s Gayle King. She goes on to shed light on how the media’s affinity to portray African-American’s in a negative light.