Saul Williams Criticizes JAY-Z’s Views In Back-To-Back Instagram Posts

Saul Williams took JAY-Z’s views on economic freedom to task in a TV One interview clip, which he recently shared on Instagram. The critique elicited a response from Hov himself, who sent an email to Williams that prompted more extensive commentary in a separate post.

“Somebody had made the mistake equating money with freedom or money with it being the ultimate power,” Williams said in the clip that started the exchange. “So then you hear an artist like JAY-Z say on The Black Album, ‘Well, I couldn’t help poor people if I was poor.’ Correction: the majority our leaders and people that have helped over time have not been able to help us because they have money, they helped us because they had vision and desire to do so.”

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“Correction.” #blackfriday #robeson #fbf

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The video caught Hov’s attention, prompting him to reach out to Williams email and defend his position.

“Our fight for economic freedom is new, it’s not the same war that Harriet Tubman was fighting,” Hov wrote. “If I used the same ‘weapons’ as them I would be shooting a musket at people with Fully automatic assault rifles.”

He added, “Although I think it’s a must, we challenge each other, we should be careful it doesn’t come f as judgement.”

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Williams posted a screenshot JAY-Z’s email on Instagram and captioned it with a lengthy argument about why Hov was incorrect.

“I wouldn’t characterize our fight for economic freedom as ‘new,’” he responded. “There have been wealthy black Americans in every generation since the 1600’s, and in Africa since forever.”

Williams also noted, “Even as we push against the systemic structures in criminal justice, housing, etc. we know that it is not simply a question money being used against us rather it is the ideology that negates our worth as human beings that seems to justify the constant exploitation our worth and work. Thus the attack is largely against belief systems, philosophies empowered by money and a corrupted rule law.”

The veteran artist/activist explained why he took issue with Hov’s outlook too.

“I challenge the messaging through music when I feel it supports the system primarily because I see art and music as tools or weaponry that can be used to destroy it,” he concluded. “The truth bangs harder. We learn that the more we tell it.”

Check out Williams’ full response to JAY-Z below.

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I wouldn't characterize our fight for economic freedom as "new". There have been wealthy black Americans in every generation since the 1600's, and in Africa since forever. During segregation accumulated black wealth and black-owned business were at a peak. Black newspapers, magazines, schools, record labels… Yet psychological freedom from hard taught capitalism is hard to earn. African billionaires, for example, have brought little relief to the continent Africa. The seduction power and the systemic constraints white supremacy will take more than money to burn. The root the market economy is still almost entirely based on the sourcing rare minerals where the exploitation African miners and land is the analogue reality the our modern-age technological advances. Thus, we push for essentially socialist measures which provide healthcare and education to all. Money can be disappeared, but the lessons you learn along the way are yours to keep. Whether we learn from the streets, schools, in prisons, or by playing the game, it is that hard-earned knowledge that allows us to understand how to spend what we earn in ways that can truly make a difference. Even as we push against the systemic structures in criminal justice, housing, etc. we know that it is not simply a question money being used against us rather it is the ideology that negates our worth as human beings that seems to justify the constant exploitation our worth and work. Thus the attack is largely against belief systems, philosophies empowered by money and a corrupted rule law. Guggenheims, Rockefellers, Fords, Nobels, and the great philanthropists and supporters the arts are all in recompense the oil, the factory work, the mining, the weaponry, the staple crops, the plantations… that prit f the design the system, after which the charitable hand is the only one left to give. I challenge the messaging through music when I feel it supports the system primarily because I see art and music as tools or weaponry that can be used to destroy it. The truth bangs harder. We learn that the more we tell it.

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