Photo: Getty
  /  11.06.2022

Aoki Lee Simmons held nothing back when she called out white America for its superficial love of hip-hop and its fallen stars. 

In a TikTok that began circulating social media on Saturday (Nov. 5), the youngest daughter of hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons blasted the genre’s white fans for not joining in the collective mourning of slain rappers despite their perceived love of the artists’ music.

Last Tuesday (Nov. 1), fans were shocked to learn that Takeoff of the Migos was fatally shot at a party in downtown Houston. His passing was the latest in a string of rapper deaths tied to gun violence. In her TikTok, however, Simmons called out the genre’s white fans, whose presence in the flood of social media tributes following the recent slayings of hip-hop’s most popular artists has been noticeably absent.

“It is only those communities — the Black community, the hip-hop community — who are actively involved in their remembrance or in mourning them… The soundtrack to their [white fans’] lives is this music. They are using it for everything, constantly headphones in their ear, parties, lives, moments, gym, motivation — it’s the soundtrack to their life,” the 20-year-old explained.  

“Yet, when the artist dies, not a word. So much of what makes hip-hop so compelling is that it’s about stories. Part of what makes it compelling to white America is it’s so often the traumatic lived experiences of Black Americans,” she continued. “The absolute worst parts of systematic oppression and the havoc it wreaks on communities in the hood, violence, and drugs.” 

The model went on to blast that same group for trying to live vicariously through artists when it is all fun and games yet turn a blind eye to societal injustices in the day-to-day lives of Black Americans. 

“These are ongoing relevant issues that frequently kill these artists. And when that happens, it’s ‘Oh hip-hop community, I mean, that’s, like, their community’s violence,’” the Harvard student added. 

Simmons further stated that this disconnect is partially to blame for the lack of true appreciation of Black art and the dehumanization of Black history, explaining: “You want to appreciate the art, profit off the art, give profit to their art, but completely devalue and continue to oppress and ignore the humanity of the artist.”

In her parting words, she concluded: “When these artists die young, it’s so obvious how much these ‘fans’ care about them as human beings… The issues that kill your favorite rapper are often the same issues people are marching in the streets for.”

Listen to Aoki Lee Simmons’ full breakdown on white America’s fake love of hip-hop below.

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