Jay-Z: Trump’s Presidency Could Lead to Better Conversations About Race

In an interview with the New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet, Jay-Z expressed hope that the presidency of Donald Trump will force Americans to confront the realities of racism. Over a 35-minute discussion, Jay-Z also touched on Obama’s presidency and the status of his relationship with Kanye West.

The mogul connected Trump’s presidency to the expulsion of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the NBA in 2014 after a recording revealed Sterling making explicitly anti-black remarks. Jay-Z argued to Baquet that Sterling’s removal allowed people not to confront the content of what he said. “The great thing about Donald Trump being president is now we’re forced to have the dialogue,” Jay-Z told the New York Times. “Now we’re having the conversation on the large scale; he’s provided the platform for us to have the conversation.” He added, “What you reveal, you heal.”

Baquet went on to ask Jay-Z if he had been disappointed in Barack Obama’s presidency. Jay-Z responded that the expectations placed on Obama as the first black president were unreasonable. “He’s there for eight years. And he has to undo what 43 presidents have done. In eight years. That’s not fair,” Jay-Z told Baquet.

When asked about his public beef with Kanye West that began when West took aim at him during an on-stage tirade late last year, Jay-Z acknowledged the tension, but spoke strongly about their bond. He referred to himself as West’s big brother, the title of a song West wrote about Jay-Z on 2007’s Graduation, and told Baquet, “hopefully when we’re 89 we look at this six months or whatever time and we laugh at that.”