By Hayden Wright
JAY-Z’s controversial lyric about Jewish people has reached the Anti-Defamation League (ADL): Representatives for the civil justice nonprofit have expressed concerns about Jay’s message. On “The Story of O.J.” from his new album 4:44, the rapper observes that “Jewish people own all the property in America.”
The ADL told Rolling Stone that the lyrics risk perpetuating stereotypes about Jews in America.
“The lyric does seem to play into deep-seated anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews and money. The idea that Jews ‘own all the property’ in this country and have used credit to financially get ahead are odious and false. Yet, such notions have lingered in society for decades, and we are concerned that this lyric could feed into preconceived notions about Jews and alleged Jewish ‘control’ of the banks and finance,” the organization said in a statement.
The criticism comes as other artists, including Russell Simmons, defend Jay Z’s hip-hop point of view, calling his critics “mischief makers” and citing the long history of collaboration between black and Jewish people in the rap industry.
“The fact is this culture that promotes good business and financial well being is and has been a guiding light to the black and specifically the hip-hop community,” he wrote. “From music to film, television, fashion, technology and financial services, the hip-hop community including myself have partnered with Jews where there were no blacks to partner with.”
“To all those focusing on negativity go buy the album, it’s focused on positivity,” Simmons added.