December 5, 2022

Actor LaKeith Stanfield has made the argument that being a fan or listener of “gangsta rap” is in conflict with the validity of one’s claim to be for the empowerment of Black people.

On Tuesday (Nov. 1), the Oscar-nominated thespian posted the following statement: “If you are for gangsta rap, you can’t also be for Black.” His Instagram post included a lengthy caption explaining the reasoning behind his declaration.

“The dangerous toxicity associated with this glorified black serial killer and killed music and imagery got people thinking it’s cool to hurt those that look like them and ONLY them,” the Sorry To Bother You star began. “It’s ok to embrace the realities of life in the harder areas but let’s think about NOT holding up this behavior in our circles. Let’s make it cool to embrace life, travel, and learn new things! I know that the scope of issues we have to contend with is much larger than just this and that we have a lot of work to do in many areas to restore our hearts and minds after centuries of persecution and manipulation, but we have to start somewhere.”

LeKeith Stanfield in black suit sunglasses and a blue truck hat

LaKeith Stanfield attends the amfAR Cannes Gala 2022 at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 26, 2022 in Cap d’Antibes, France.

Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Jelenew

The 31-year-old continued, adding, “At some level, we have to see our lives as valuable so that we think before we react and see another human when we look at a Human man. We must stop holding self-destructive shit up and embrace things that build us a whole so that we can lead the world in the direction of prosperity by example. Getting reckless now and again is part of who we are but for the most part…Turn that stupid sh*t off.”

Stanfield’s comments received a mixed reaction, with a number of social media users accusing him of allowing the recent death of rapper Takeoff, who was recently murdered due to gun violence, as a means to broadcast his message. Others denounced the notion of one’s taste in music nullifying their love for their race or their efforts in fighting for equality and empowerment in their communities. A segment of the comments voiced their agreement with Stanfield, calling for more accountability from rap artists and the labels that back them.

Read LaKeith Stanfield’s post and its comments below.

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