Lil Wayne appeared on the Fox Sports One program Skip and Shannon: Undisputed and ended up giving a very cogent yet confusing interview about his experience with racism. Wayne was asked about his position on the national-anthem-protest wave catalyzed by Colin Kaepernick in the NFL, who has been kneeling on the ground during the “Star Spangled Banner” in response to mistreatment of people of color. It got confusing because, while he spoke thoughtfully and deliberately on the issue, his whole answer was framed around the fact that he has no idea what’s going on. “I’m not into it enough to even give an opinion, so when he did it I really — somebody had to tell me why he was doing it,” explained Wayne. “That’s how much I didn’t know what was going on, and I kind of still don’t. So somebody gonna have to explain it to me like ‘Oh hey, he kneeling because of the Black Lives Matter thing and because of’ — that whole wave just went by me too fast for me to try to give an opinion.”
The rapper was not flippant or aloof, and he was very aware that his comments could be perceived as dismissive of Kaepernick’s actions. It’s just that, in Wayne’s whole lifetime, he has apparently never, not once, experienced racial disenfranchisement. When co-host Skip Bayless asked Wayne where America stands in terms of race relations, he responded with, “Skip, they wouldn’t want to ask me that. They wouldn’t want my answer to represent it, because God knows I have been nothing but blessed. My whole path, these 33 years, have been nothing but a blessing. I have never — and never is a strong word — never dealt with racism, and I’m glad I didn’t have to. And I don’t know if it’s because of my blessings, I don’t know, but it is my reality. So I would have to say not only that I thought it was over, but that I still believe it’s over. But obviously it isn’t.” He added that he considered the massive number of white patrons at his concerts to be proof that we are living in a post-race America, saying, “I don’t want to be bashed cause I don’t want to sound like I’m on the wrong — if there is a side — but I thought that was clearly a sign that there was no such thing as racism. That’s what I thought that was. I thought that was a perfect example.”
In the event that a hypothetical problem of institutional racism did exist, Wayne agreed that we can only reach a solution if everyone comes together to find one. But as far as his personal struggle goes, Wayne explained that his entire focus is his kids, and that everything else is basically just noise: “That’s my nation. That’s my flag. That’s my world. That’s my protest. That’s my don’t protest. That’s all that matters, those four kids to me.” Co-host Shannon Sharpe praised Wayne for giving his honest response and for not appropriating hardships he has not experienced, and but did politely assure him racism is alive and well, even if he has been fortunate enough to never encounter it. “I’m 48 years old from rural south Georgia, and if you don’t think it’s alive and well, check my timeline,” said Sharpe. “Racism is real. He knows it’s real, although he hasn’t experienced it.”
So, it sounds like Lil Wayne’s life really is pouring bottles of Champagne on phones with his friends, just because he can.