Nas Says America Is “Selling a False Dream”

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Never one to shy away from addressing sociopolitical issues, Nas has taken to Instagram to vent his frustrations with America’s racial inequalities. In a message posted last night (June 22), the Queens legend posted a strongly-worded message in which he takes the nation to task for perpetuating systemic racism while selling the notion of an American Dream. “Now we’ve obviously progressed since the inception of this nation,” he writes, “but we took our eye off the ball and it feels as though things are moving backwards.” Nas goes on: “As a black man, I find it difficult to understand that our biggest export (our American culture) comes from us. The people in the streets… The way the world dresses, talks, what they listen to, what they watch… That all comes from us. How can we be the ones responsible for America’s biggest export & fear for our lives like we shouldn’t belong here.”

The disconnect between how the American government, corporate world and populous as a whole treats Black culture versus Black people themselves is one that has raged in mass media since at least the Jazz Age. Nas’  last album, 2012′s Life Is Good, turned the focus inward as he examined his life as a divorced father approaching middle age; nevertheless, he has a long history of provoking philosophical discussions of this nature. Though his sophomore effort, It Was Written, was poorly received by critics upon its 1996 release, it opened with a skit that depicted a slave rising up against a plantation overseer. Read his letter in its entirety below:

“America has spent so much time, money & resources fighting wars abroad and completely fell asleep at the wheel of the war brewing within our cities, neighborhoods & blocks. We are supposed to stand for freedom & equal opportunity. That’s supposed to mean MORE than just words but the actions of late just don’t speak to what we are supposed to stand for. This is BIGGER than BLACK and WHITE. This is about America selling a false dream. Now we’ve obviously progressed since the inception of this nation but we took our eye off the ball and it feels as though things are moving backwards. As a black man, I find it difficult to understand that our biggest export (our American culture) comes from us. The people in the streets… The way the world dresses, talks, what they listen to, what they watch… That all comes from us. How can we be the ones responsible for America’s biggest export & fear for our lives like we shouldn’t belong here. I don’t have all the answers nor do I believe anyone does, but we need to have conversations around how to improve as a nation. How do we show any ounce of progress that keeps hope alive. This is too big of a problem to be solved overnight but there needs to be some questions answered to get things back on the track of righteousness. Amazing people died for this country. We owe it to the past, present & future to come together and move this country in the right direction. This is my home just like it is anyone else’s. RIP CRISPUS ATTUCKS. FIRST MAN TO DIE IN AMERICA’s FREEDOM WAR & HE WAS BLACK! GOD BLESS EVERY OUNCE OF INNOCENT BLOOD SHED FOR THIS NATION & MY FAMILY.”

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