Jay-Z Criticizes Occupy Wall Street, Russell Simmons Responds With Op-Ed

What’s that, you want yet another serving of politics with your hip-hop? Well we’ve got you covered! In a recent interview with the New York TimesT Magazine, Jay-Z questioned the Occupy Wall Street movement, saying “I don’t know what the fight is about. What do we want, do you know?” Hova stated a desire for more clarity and purpose from the movement. Well, ask you and you shall receive.

Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons posted an op-ed on Global Grind Monday (Sep. 10) titled “Jay-Z Is Right 99 Times, But This Ain’t One” (and then probably dropped the mic pen). Read on to see how Simmons articulated the goals of OWS in his response to Jay-Z.

Despite the incendiary title, Simmons’ column was non-confrontational and the mogul did seem to want to inform, rather than put-down, Jay-Z and others. He admitted that OWS is somewhat amorphous, but believes that is a strength, saying:

There was never an official agenda or media-friendly talking points. Zuccotti Park and the Occupy camps that sprung up around the country were places for any and every person to come and share ideas about how to better perfect our union…”

Simmons then laid out what he feels is the true mission of OWS. He lists what he says are the effects of money infiltrating our democratic system, concluding that:

…almost everything that disempowers the poor, is a result of money passing from lobbyists and corporations to our politicians. And that is what Occupy Wall Street is fighting against. It is a sad state that the politicians work for the people who pay them, not for the people who elect them. That is not democracy.”

Simmons finished off with the message that “We must take our democracy off the market and let the world know that it is no longer for sale! Mic check!”

Who do you side with? Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Stephen Carl Baldwin

    Thank you, Mr. Simmons, for setting Jay-Z straight. Every artist has a perfect right to support Occupy or NOT support Occupy. But Jay-Z can’t have it both ways. Last year, he launched a successful clothing line based on Occupy themes, gave zilch back to the movement, and now he’s bad mouthing Occupy. This is bad behavior, Jay-Z, emblematic of the same kind of greed and hypocrisy that’s ruining this nation. And we’re going to call you on it. Guitarmy — of which I’m a squad leader, will be leading a musical protest/teach-in on September 28th when you open the Barclay’s Center (named after a bank whose practices are highly questionable). We’re going to confront you with a musical question: “Which Side Are You On?” For more info on this action, see: http://occupyguitarmy.tumblr.com/post/31229504920/occupy-guitarmy-to-jay-z-which-side-are-you-on

  • Billy Ray

    Like OWS, I predict guitarmy will be a massive failure.