Kevin Gates is barely relevant to me, actually barely is an overstatement in this situation. Kevin Gates never comes up in of my conversations willingly, let alone a conversation about music. He never comes up on my Spotify playlists, his albums do not appear on my Pandora radio's and I prefer it that way but when and if I do hear about Kevin Gates it is never anything good. Just to put this into perspective, the last time I heard about Kevin Gates or had a conversation about him was because he had kicked a girl in her face.
Yes, you read that correctly. He kicked a girl in her face at one of his concerts.
Oh Kevin Gates. If you’re wondering the reason why he kicked this girl in her face, well it was because he told her to stop pulling on his pants. When the girl did not listen he then proceeded to kick her in the face.I know how dare this concert goer, who is probably truly a fan of Kevin Gates, pull on his pants in excitement because she's seeing him in person.
Although that situation was horrible enough, that will not be the situation I focus on in this blog post as Kevin Gates has once again put himself in hot water. The rapper recently decided to give his opinion on the Black Lives Matter movement *sigh*. I really wish rappers and entertainers would stop giving political opinions. Remember when T.I. said he didn’t want a female president because he felt like they were too emotional, ugh goodness.
Anyway, during an interview with 106 KMEL radio station, Kevin Gates was asked about his opinion on Stacy Dash’s comments regarding the eradication of BET and identifying as American versus African-American ( you can find my post about Stacy Dash's comments here). Kevin Gates stated he did agree with Stacy Dash’s comments (of course he did) and further explained his stance and why he agrees with her. He explained his own personal experiences with police officers by describing one situation where he stated he was acting like an “ignorant belligerent nigger” and deserved to be arrested. He then proceeded to say that holding up signs and shouting “Black Lives Matter” is not going to change anything, that “All Lives Matter.”
Wait. First of all, I’m sorry Kevin Gates you were acting like a what?
I do not understand nor do I agree with black people who think they can take the word “nigger” or "nigga" and try to change it's meaning. Even typing the word makes me cringe, it is a word that was used to oppress the black community. It was used to make us feel low, like we were trash, like we were nothing. So the fact that Kevin Gates uses it not only so loosely, but to also describe himself, makes me think that there is a disconnect between what he thinks of himself and how society may view him.
The problem with Kevin Gates statement besides just the use of the word “nigger” is his perception of the Black Lives Matter movement. His perception of the Black Lives Matter movement is toxic because it is mindsets like those of Kevin Gates that hinders change. His viewpoint creates this perception that the Black Lives Matter movement feels as though all police officers are bad. That is not the case. It is a matter of holding those police officers who have decided to shot and kill unarmed citizens accountable, but also figuring out why this is happening and taking the necessary steps to bring inequalities and injustices to the forefront so they can be resolved or worked on.
Not only is Kevin Gates perception of the Black Lives Matter movement toxic, his use of respectability politics is problematic. Respectability politics or the politics of respectability refers to attempts by marginalized groups to police their own members and show their casual and social values as being continuous and compatible with mainstream values rather than challenging the mainstream.
Kevin Gates statement that holding up a sign and screaming "Black Lives Matter" wouldn't change anything, followed by his statement that "All Lives Matter" is a clear example of respectability politics. It is a message to those supporting the Black Lives Matter movement that you need to stop because what you're doing is going against the mainstream. It is wrong and it is unnecessary and you should stop it. The use of respectability politics usually comes in the form of the person speaking to someone as if they are a child and I have no need for it. I have never had a use for respectability politics and the use of it by Kevin Gates is definitely unnecessary.
Let me clarify for those who do not know, “Black Lives Matter” is not simply a saying, it is not something we as black people write on signs protest and feel good about ourselves. No, it is something that was created resulting from a terrible incident where an unarmed black teen, Trayvon Martin, was tragically shot just for being a black teen by a vigilante who thought Trayvon Martin was up to no good. Then after that terrible incident, cases similar to Trayvon Martin's and situations where police officers were involved started to happen more and more, to the point where they are now. “Black Lives Matter” is not something we as black people yell out only to be masked by the sound of “All Lives Matter,” no, Kevin Gates you are wrong. “Black Lives Matter” is a movement in retaliation to the unfortunate realization where black people, including me, see that our lives are not as guarded, are not as safe, and are not as important as a white person’s life may be compared to ours. That does not take away from "All Lives Matter" because of course "All Lives Matter" that is a simple matter of empathy, but saying "All Lives Matter" does take away from the situation at hand, because it causes the person to focus on the "All Lives Matter" statement, instead of the "Black Lives Matter" movement.
Look here Kevin Gates, while you may not think the Black Lives Matter movement will change anything, let me tell you that it is the actions and the movement behind “Black Lives Matter” that will change something. It is the “Black Lives Matter” activists who are a part of the movement who have met with presidential candidates to hopefully change legislation that will affect police departments and police officers who are shooting unarmed citizens. It is the message that will hopefully change the perception of Americans in the United States. It is the message that will hopefully get America to have conversations and talking about the problems we face because Kevin Gates, that is how you institute change. You get people talking.