Nas has certainly shown a great deal of business acumen the last few years with successful investments ranging in everything from Silicon Valley, mattresses, and the Lyft car service to a sneaker store and his HSTRY clothing. And last week, Nas announced that the line would be selling a special “Kneeling Santa” on their website with some of the proceeds going to the Center for Criminal Justice Reform.
The Santa is obviously inspired by San Francisco 49er Quarterback Colin Kaepernick who set off a maelstrom of controversy earlier this year when he decided that he would kneel on one knee during the playing of the National Anthem in protest of racial injustice in America. In a recent exclusive interview with REVOLT TV, Nas says Kaepernick’s defiance was much needed.
“It was so a ‘Thank God’ moment for me,” Nas told Vice Chairman Andre Harrell in a sit-down. “Every generation should have a few that ain’t havin it. I was fortunate enough to have an interest in brave people throughout history. I grew up where that’s was what we were doing to get to the 90s and 2000s, where the hip hop industry is a billion dollar industry, the sports industry is a trillion dollar industry. I was looking around and said, ‘This generation don’t have that.’ [That] leadership, brave ones out there who would do things. I been known I’ve done some things where people was like, ‘That’s career suicide, what are you doing?’”
The iconic poet continued that it was time for a younger person to speak out on atrocities in society.
“To see this generation have someone to do something so powerful as Kaepernick did, it was a ‘Thank God’ moment,” he reiterated. “I even needed to see that, this generation needed to see that: ‘This who you are. You are strong.’ My generation, we seen [people speak out and lead] it and we were desperately needing someone younger… He stepped up and hit a home run.”
Ironically, both Nas and Kaepernick have also touched a sensitive nerve with people in the wake of the death of Fidel Castro. On Friday, when it was announced the polarizing former leader of Cuba had passed, Nas posted a picture of Castro during his historic 1960s trip to Harlem, NY where he met with Malcolm X. Nas wrote in its caption:
“RIP KING FIDEL CASTRO #revolutionary only 5% understand. I’m not Cuban, I don’t fully know how he effected my Cuban family, so I’m send strength and power for your pains. But lots Of us, as Black people, n some others in the USA, we saw him as an Ally in the Struggle.”
The post sparked heated debates in its comment section where some followers, viewing Castro as an oppressor of people, voiced their disappointment in Nas for his post and others praised him.
In August, Kaepernick wore a t-shirt with pictures of the Castro/X meeting and on Wednesday in Miami he explained, “I am a believer in Malcolm X and his ideology and what he talked about and what he believed in as far as fighting oppression. The fact he [Malcolm X] met with Fidel, to me, speaks to his open mind to be willing to hear different aspects of people’s views and ultimately being able to create his own views as far as the best way to approach different situations, different cultures. I’m not talking about Fidel Castro and his oppression. I’m talking about Malcolm X and what he’s done for people.”
On Friday, shortly before Castro’s death was announced, Kaep was taken to task by Miami Herald reporter Armando Salguero during a phone conference with Miami reporters and the QB responded: “I’m not going to cut out pieces of Malcolm’s life. In 1960, when they met in Harlem, that was a historic moment. That’s something that I will always be true to what Malcolm was, what he represented, because I’m not going to cut out history.”
He added, “One thing that Fidel Castro did do is they have the highest literacy rate because they invest more in their education system than they do in their prison system, which we do not do here, even though we’re fully capable of doing that.”
On Sunday, the 49ers lost to the Miami Dolphins, their 10th straight overall and Colin was booed heavily by the crowd. Miami, after all, has a heavy Cuban-American population. After the game, Kaepernick clarified his Castro comments.
“What I said was, I agree in the investment in education. I also agree in the investment of free universal healthcare,” Castro told reporters. “Trying to push the narrative that I was supportive of the oppressive things he did is not true.”
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