Same Old New School 14: Nick Cannon & Is Hip Hop Anti-Semitic
Written by Vocalo Radio on July 21, 2020
Every Monday at 8:30pm Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin take over Vocalo’s IG Live to look at how Hip Hop intersects with culture, politics, fashion and more. It’s a half-hour of Hip Hop, laughs, and wisdom from some of the best guys in the game. It’s Same Old New School.
As Goodwin said at the top of the show, they will not be talking about Kanye West because…what else is there to be said right now? Instead, this episode was dedicated, almost entirely, to the questions surrounding Judaism in and with the Hip Hop culture and community. After beginning with the recent ViacomCBS firing of Nick Cannon over anti-Semitic comments, Coval really opens up about being a Jewish man and how his own community has existed with and broken away from the Black community.
Watch the full episode above, or stream it below at the end of the article.
Nick Cannon vs. Viacom
On July 14, ViacomCBS confirmed that they had fired Nick Cannon, actor and host of the MTV and VH1 series “Wild ‘N Out,” after he said that Black people are “true Hebrews” and discussed anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on his podcast. Since then, Cannon has struck back in a Facebook post and argued that ViacomCBS does not “understand or respect the power of the Black community.”
Coval, a Jewish man himself, has previously written “Schtick,” a book on the assimilation of how Jewish people became white when they got to America. He brings up the historic issue, that he’s witnessed firsthand, with whiteness in American Judaism, especially when confronted over Moses and Abraham being Black.
“This is really the story, in some ways, of every immigrant that comes to this country is that they usually end up stepping on Black folx and, by and large, aligning themselves with whiteness rather than with the alternative. Which is not blackness, per se, but radical humanitarianism that advocates for solidarity between all peoples.”
Turning back to Nick Cannon, the two ask the question: if he’s saying that Black people were the “true Hebrews” and they were, then why is this something worth arguing?
Goodwin poses the question that perhaps it was upsetting Cannon had rapper Professor Griff with him, who has previously been a controversial figure. Coval agreed that Griff’s presence, along with Cannon’s language were enough to create today’s stir.
Struggles Of Today’s Jewish Community
Goodwin admitted that when it comes to Jewish people, he, as a Black man, still has some learning to do about what the triggers are. Even though Coval joked that in some ways, the Jewish community has been struggling with lost identity and could use a little more humor.
And much as how White people often enact micro-aggressions towards Black people (both consciously and not), Coval postulates that Christians often enact micro-aggressions upon religions that are not their own as well.
Then Goodwin put Coval on the spot and asked him to name his top 5 Jewish rappers, which you’ll have to watch or listen to hear for yourself.
Is Hip Hop Anti-Semitic?
The resounding answer from Coval? No.
“I’ve said this in poems but Hip Hop brought me back to Judaism,” he said. “Hip Hop provides a path towards self-understanding and self-education so how can it be [anti-Semitic]?”
He talks about how the Torah is Hip Hop, as both make sure the past stays relevant today. And how there was a historic connection between Black and Jewish communities, but it was lost when Jewish people started to climb the socioeconomic ladder and assimilate with whiteness and white supremacy.
“Jews abandoned Black folx and abandoned their state in the Civil Rights Movement and I think that’s part of the reason why Black folx are mad and I think they have every right to be,” said Coval.
He continues to postulate that as Jewish people continue to gain wealth and power in America, they also took on White Paternalism. How so often, Jews will talk about their people’s historic pains while ignoring the pain they themselves are guilty of committing upon Black communities in this country.
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Written By Shelby Kluver