Do You Listen To Rap Music or Do You Just Skim Through It?

A lot of new music dropped on Aug 21 Nas-(King’s Disease), Duckwrth-(SuperGood) Bodega Bamz-(Yams Heard This), Lacrae-(Restoration), my favorite is that new Pharrell and Jay-Z Entrepreneur. I was shocked to hear Jay-Z had released a new song Friday morning, lately I’ve been asking Siri to play Jay-Z-she sounds like she has an attitude when she responds-but she complies.

Scrolling Through Twitter I landed on a LA Times piece written by August Brown Watch the all-star video for Pharrell and Jay-Z’s new BLM-inspired ‘Entrepreneur.’

I’m a Jay-z Stan, so I download Entrepreneur, my initial impression was, it’s aight. So, as not to be influenced by Brown’s article I didn’t read it until later that evening. However, I did take him up on his suggestion to watch the video and it immediately raised my appreciation for the song-I went from being in basement to the penthouse suite on the express elevator in an instant.

The video gave me chills and I shared it on all my social platforms-I typically don’t share music videos. I’m Not sure where or how August came up with the title, “Watch the all-star video for Pharrell and Jay-Z’s new BLM-inspired ‘Entrepreneur.’”

Because, outside of Issa Rae and Tyler The Creator the video highlights ordinary people who are doing EXTRAordinary things within their communities. Does that sound familiar? It should, that’s the tag line for BTW Podcast.

The LA Times piece, set up a nice Twitter click bait, so I deliberately delayed clicking the link to the article, but I was up for a game of hide and go seek. I went into the video in search of “hidden messages” and I was quickly disappointed. Sure, I peeped Malcom X and Ali on the back of a black mans t-shirt as Pharrell whispers: “I am black ambition, I am always whispering.” A young girl is smiling wearing a face mask, walking with her head held high like a princess who knows she’ll soon be occupying her throne and, with her, I assume is her grandmother pushing a garment rack full of clothes across the street. Twenty Seven seconds into the 5:29 Vevo video, we’re hit with the first of many little known facts, as a smartly dressed black man strolls down a freshly waxed, empty school corridor. The caption at the bottom of the screen reads, 20 schools in his district performed in the bottom 5% statewide-So TyAnthony Davis founded Vox Collegiate Junior High to change that. How could you be upset with that message? Your voice is POWER is written on the chalkboard over his right shoulder.

There’s are no profound hidden messages in Entrepreneur, the imagery is powerful, it is refreshing, it is encouraging, and it’s all meticulously laid out in plain sight. But, somehow the LA Times missed the obvious gems. When I think of Entrepreneur, I think of Khalia Wright’s definition, entrepreneur, a fancy word for someone crazy enough to follow their dream. Resist the urge to conform to the dominate culture’s way of thinking and doing things because you feel the need blend in, you were created as an original stand out.

From there, we encounter our 1st celebrity, Tyler The Creator riding a bike with no hands rocking a green Izod Cardigan sweater, think Mr. Rogers, with a cream and chocolate scarf tied around his neck with a signature Quest Love afro pic in his hair, but it’s off white. Vincent and Arlene Williams started Honey’s Kettle 20years ago, their children have helped them expand since then during the pandemic. Twice. What is wrong with celebrating positive images of black families?

”Resist the urge to conform to the dominant culture’s way of thinking and doing things because you feel the need to blend in; you were created as an original stand out.”

At 23 Iddris Sandu has already written algorithms for Snapchat, Uber and Instagram. This year he’s writing a few new ones, for himself. What is wrong with getting a vision of yourself as a boss and not an employee? What’s Wrong with wanting to create something of value for yourself? But, Brown considers the lyrics trite, go figure. It makes wonder if he even watched the video and listened to the music or did you simply skim through it.

Brown opens his piece, by taking a swipe at Jay with a backhanded compliment written with such disdain, “Jay-Z has often boasted about his business acumen, so it’s not surprising that he’d re-emerge alongside Pharrell Williams with a single about the trials and resilience of the Black entrepreneur in American life.” It reeks Laura Ingram’s sentiments of Lebron James, “Shut Up and Dribble.” First of all, Shawn Carter is a businessman, there’s no denying that, it’s a fact! Secondly, this video was a celebration of black excellence it wasn’t about drugs, bit@hes and hoes, WAP, trauma or oh poor me, I got it so bad, somebody please help me and it damn sure wasn’t about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.

In his subtle, not so subtle way, the LA Times staff writer tried to diminish the accomplishments of two Black Men under guise of music video review. Contrary to what Brown may think there are no darker images lurking beneath the 808’s waiting to attack you with every kick. There’s Just Brown stirring the pot, in an attempt stir up controversy and confusion within the black community.

Beatrice Dixon faced backlash after connecting her all natural feminine product line Honey Pot’s success to the success of other black girls, critics should try her products they’re non-toxic. Arthell and Darnell Isom created the first black-owned anime studio in Japan.

After the Isom’s we blessed with the presence of our 2nd celebrity Issa Rae, who began her career filming a low budget web series all over South L.A.. We catch up Issa Rae as she enters a building under construction, her face beaming with a mixture of joy and pride as she stands in awe of the empire she’s building on the same blocks she created her YouTube web series on back in 2011. It seems like the only thing Brown got right was the moment of silence for Nipsey Hussle, Entrepreneur.

There were no skate shops in the hood until Neighbors Skateshop moved in. Alrick Augustine literally runs his the city and gets paid to help you do the same. Running while black in America proved to be a fatal outcome for Ahmaud Arbery.

Jay-Z flow is undeniable smooth: “Uh, lies told to you, through YouTubes and Hulu’s. Shows with no hues that look like you do. Black Twitter, what’s that? When Jack gets paid, do you?” It is those 10 words that Brown sunk his teeth into and decided to chew on, and spit some divisive venom: “JAY-Z castigated an influential sphere of Black social media users: “Black Twitter, what’s that? When Jack gets paid, do you?

Look, you’re entitled to be offended by a verse in a song, but if you see “Black Twitter what’s that? When Jack gets paid do you?” as a reprimand you may be suffering from what Dave Chappelle aptly coined a brittle spirit. I’m so over people outside of the culture trying to stir up controversy to for clicks. Pitting one black person against the other is such a tried and true predictable strategy, yet people continue to fall for the bait.

If you think the song is trash, simply say it’s trash, but don’t try to intellectualize and make recommendations for what black Americans should do, the paternalistic tone is insulting. We will not be swayed, we can chew gum whilst walking. We don’t have to choose between activism and entrepreneurship. Nothing in Entrepreneur was about pulling yourself up by the bootstraps.

Shawn Carter and Pharrell Williams have grown and evolved as artist and activist. Having this understanding is what allowed me to listen to WAP with a non critical ear, besides who wants dry pu$$y.

Let’s get back to Entrepreneur, Six Sev is a designer, rapper and community activist. Chance Infinite took money he made from the music industry and brought Harun Coffee Shop to his community. 86 Investors told Denise Woodard of Partake Cookies, “No.” Except Jay-Z. Chef Alisa’s vegan soul food at My Two Cents is the best. Before we breeze past the images of powerful black woman to come, let’s pause for a moment to recognize that Jay-Z is promoting unity and not gang violence: “D’Usse pourer, sip Ace ‘til I throw up Like gang signs ‘cept I bang mines for both ya Serial entrepreneur, we own our own stop. Sittin’ around waitin’ for folks to throw you a bone If you can’t buy the building at least stock the shelf (Word), Then keep on stackin’ ‘til you stockin’ for yourself.”

What is wrong with changing the paradigm from being a consumer to owner? Who stands to loose when you make the transition from staff writer to freelance writer? Jarrod Dicker wrote and excellent piece, that gives a peak into what that new model might look like: Media 2020: Rise of the Renaissance Creator.

The pace picks up as we roll towards the credits, Pharrell sings Blackman Blackman Blackman Blackman repeatedly, as we see a plethora black women on the screen. There’s nothing misogynistic or patronizing about this Entrepreneur.

Angela Richardson turned her homemade cleaning goods into a full retail line. Did you know that black women are 3–4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women? I didn’t, I learned something new, 3:29 into Entrepreneur. Debbie Allen’s childbirth experience in a hospital led her to question the whole process. So, she created a safe space for women to give birth in the comfort of their own homes as CEO of Tribe Midwifery. The hits keep rolling, CEO of Miss Bennett Fitness, CEO of Black & Mobile, CEO of Trill Paws Dog Accessories, and the CEO of Third Vault Yarns, London.

Pharrell sought out ordinary people from all over the world in every industry Nicholas Johnson is the first Valedictorian of Princeton, that’s particularly inspiring for a young man to see, it’s okay to be smart there’s more than one way to make out the hood, you don’t have have a wicked jump shot or sling crack rock.

The only thing sinister about Entrepreneur is JAY-Z signature giggle, as we pan to white house with black roof shingles and red door. We see Broadway star Robert Hartwell dancing and leaping in front of this huge mansion, which was once the plantation where his ancestors were enslaved. The house recently went on the market. $400k. Cash only, so he bought it.

All of these gems were apparently hidden from Brown. Instead, he focused on ten words. Click the link below to learn more about the Entrepreneurs highlighted in the video.

Gary V constantly preaches about now being the ideal time launch a business, pursue your passion, hustle, grind, serve your community, find your voice, explore and create because the internet has democratized so many industries make entry into the game easier and I couldn’t agree more, because I’m living proof and I’m seeing ordinary people everyday who are doing EXTRAordinary things within their communities. Salute to Pharrell Williams and Shawn Carter for celebrating ordinary people who are doing EXTRAordinary things within their communities.



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