Occupy Wall Street may have lost some of the fervor that drove the movement to international fame last year, but they’re still ready to do battle. The group has a bone to pick with Jay-Z for allegedly telling Russell Simmons that he wasn’t sure what the protests at New York City’s Zuccotti Park, were even about.
“I’m not going to park and picnic, I have no idea what to do, I don’t know what the fight is about. What do we want, do you know?” Jay reportedly asked, according to the New York Times.
Once word got back to the movement’s Guitarmy group, they announced plans for educate him via a “teach-in” during Hov’s September 28 show commemorating the opening of the Barclays Center. “We have spent one year on the streets organizing for exactly the things Jay rapped about in his early days, ending urban poverty, ending Stop & Frisk and police use of lethal force, of returning dignity and hope to the everyday people of New York City,” read a post on their Tumblr page. “These are simple civil rights issues we know Jay-Z must support, and we would love to help open his heart and mind to the work Occupy has helped do in his own former communities.”
In lieu of his alleged ignorance, Jay still saw an opportunity to cash in, releasing “Occupy All Streets” T-shirts through his Rocawear company. The move pretty much backfired after it was revealed that the company had no plans to donate the proceeds and would profit off of them, defeating the entire purpose of the Occupy fight, which takes issues with big business, banks, and society’s tendency to overlook the “99 %.”
Jay has been criticized in the past for failing to speak up on social issues. However, it should be noted that because he grew up in Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects, a poor area crippled by drugs and gun violence, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he has a responsibility to support the Occupy movement. After all, impoverished communities have been suffering long before protesters decided to head down to a park and sleep there for months on end.
That being said, he has yet to offer a rebuttal, but given the news, security will likely be tight once he hits the stage at Barclays.
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