J. Cole Speaks on Rap, Gentrification & Stereotypes At Harvard University [VIDEO]
Cole, who graduated magna cum laude from St. John’s University, spoke at the Ivy League university about the music business, chasing his dreams, and what his plan B was if Hip-Hop didn’t work out. In this open Q&A with the students, Cole shared this interesting anecdote about being a biracial kid attending school in New York City.
“In the daytime, everything is fine. When I walk through Queens or if I see somebody the opposite way or I see a white lady in the daytime it’s all good. I look like a nice young man, I got a book bag, they know I’m going to school,” says Cole. “But at night time it is totally different, It’s a little more distrustful like, walk. So I slipped that in the verse because at night I’m not a nice guy anymore I’m just a scary Black dude with a hoody or whatever.”
The Roc Nation rapper continued his story with the flip side of those stereotypical assumptions during a recent trip to Brooklyn, NY.
“Then I noticed last night that I do the same thing as a Black man, I stereotype the same way. I was telling my homeboy that lives in Brooklyn, a gentrified area of Brooklyn that used to really be Brooklyn,” Cole stated. “Now there’s a lot of hipsters, it’s very artsy, you’ve got writers and people that just smoke weed all day and you’ve got designers in this part of Brooklyn. But one block away, there is the old Brooklyn that was always there. So I parked my car and it’s my first time in this neighborhood by myself, and I get out the car. Mind you, I’m still J. Cole this is a couple months ago, but I’m by myself cause I don’t move with security like that. Then I see two shadowy figures coming at me, I didn’t notice it until after it happens but as soon as I saw it was two white boys I was like ‘Whew,’ I’m good.”
Set aside a good half hour of time and check out Cole’s entire speaking engagement with the students in the videos below and on the next page.