The rapper Jay-Z went into an interesting and very public tirade about his struggles as a black man. During a recent concert performance, the artist did a freestyle, using the names of Freddie Gray and Trayvon Martin to express the grief he feels trying to build a business while enduring the grip of the white man’s oppression.
However, an image has been circulating online that has led some to wonder if Jay-Z is truly committed to hiring black people. The image features he and Beyonce taking a picture with a large staff that appears to be 100% white. Critics charge that Jay-Z’s recent on-stage rant about racism was a ploy to get the backing of the black community for his Tidal streaming service without him taking measurable steps toward true diversity within his company.
Jay-Z’s supporters claim that with the company being originally based in Sweden, there are simply no black people to hire. But with Tidal doing business around the globe, employees from a multitude of countries would likely be involved. So, if he chose to surpass the 103,000 black people in the country of Sweden, there would surely be others willing to move in order to take the job.
A better answer in Jay-Z’s defense might be the fact that, despite the perception being given to the public, Jay-Z is not the majority owner of Tidal. Instead, the company is owned by numerous artists and investors, with Jay-Z serving as the public face of the venture.
Here’s some of what Jay-Z said on stage during a recent performance freestyle about the racism he’s been experiencing:
I feel like Youtube is the biggest culprit
Them n*ggas pay you a tenth of what you supposed to get
You know n*ggas die for equal pay right?
You know when I work I ain’t your slave right?
You know I ain’t shucking and jiving and high fiving
You know this ain’t back in the days right?
But I can’t tell, how the way they killed Freddie Gray right
Shot down Mike Brown how they did Tray right?
Let them continue choking n*ggas
We gonna turn style, I ain’t your token n*gga
You know I came in this game independent right?
Tidal, my own label, same difference
Here’s that image that shocked the world and left a lot of people confused.
This picture certainly makes you wonder if Jay-Z and Beyonce are as willing to support black people as they claim to be.
Even more confusing are reports that, at the end of April, Tidal closed its origin Aspiro offices in Stockholm, firing all of its Swedish employees. If that’s the case, then either these are the new employees hired after the Swedish team was let go, or they are the old employees who were fired after the company’s new launch. If that’s the case, then who are the new employees, and how many of them are African American?
You can see Jay-Z and Beyonce in the picture, but do you see any other African Americans, anywwhere? If there are black people in the picture, they may be hiding, working in the kitchen, or perhaps taking the picture. But we can’t find any.
The mere idea that we have to work so hard to find the black people in the picture seems to say quite a bit about Jay-Z’s commitment to hiring and buying black. It also makes some wonder how he would blatantly proclaim himself to be a victim of discrimination, while shutting out talented black people from his own organization. But hey, we love black people, so maybe that makes us the crazy ones.
Here are some close-ups below. Still, no black people in sight. Let’s play a game of “Where’s Waldo?” and tell us if you can find a black person in the picture. We sure cannot.
Some say that Jay-Z had no ability to make any staffing changes with his new company, since he only made the purchase a few months ago. But this doesn’t appear to be the case, according to a recent article in Rolling Stone Magazine:
Less than a month into Jay Z‘s Tidal reign, the rapper is already effecting major changes. The streaming service has parted ways with Andy Chen, the CEO of Tidal’s parent company Aspiro that Jay Z purchased for $56 million. Former Aspiro CEO Peter Tonstad will replace Chen on an interim basis. Business Insider reports that the Chen departure was the most notable of about 25 employee layoffs Tidal made Friday.
Aspiro hired Chen prior to Jay Z’s acquisition of the company, so it wasn’t unexpected that the rapper would prefer to put his stamp on Tidal by hiring his own executives. “Tonstad has a better understanding of the industry and a clear vision for how the company is looking to change the status quo,” a Tidal rep said in a statement. “He’s streamlining resources to ensure talent is maximized to enhance the customer experience. We’ve eliminated a handful of positions and refocused our company-wide talent to address departments that need support and cut redundancies.”
Tell us what you think.
In the video below, Dr Boyce Watkins and Yvette Carnell discuss Jay-Z’s racial quandary and why we allow black celebs to take from the black community without being expected to give back.