Jay-Z Says Black Single-Parent Homes Contribute To Police Murdering Black People

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison

Hip-Hop mogul Jay-Z is under fire again. A clip of comments he made in January during the launch of the Reform Alliance has resurfaced, reported NewsOne. In the video, Jay basically blames ‘Police-on-Black’ crime on single-parent homes.

“You think about the idea of growing up in a single parent house, which I grew up in … and having an adverse feeling for authority, right? Your father’s gone so you’re like, ‘I hate my Dad; don’t nobody tell me what to do; I’m the man of the house;’ and then you hit the street and you run into a police officer and … you’re like ‘f**k you’ and that interaction causes people to lose lives,” Jay-Z said.

Translation: It’s Black people’s lack of respect for authority – because single parents can’t possibly teach their kids to respect authority – that leads to them being fatally shot by police.

Jay-Z Cannabis
Jay-Z gestures while walking to his seat during the first half of Game 3 of basketball’s NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Never mind the slaying of Black men and women who did comply with officers’ orders like Philando Castile or law enforcement’s ability to take white mass murderers who stole the lives of dozens of people into custody without incident.

The ‘4:44; MC then went on to add “ … we want to be very clear, you know if someone commits a crime, they should go to jail.” This comment made people question whether Jay-Z – who made much of his fortune rapping about his past illegal escapades – was including himself in that group.


Jay-Z has bragged about selling crack in his music and stabbed music executive Lance “Un” Rivera in 1999. He was facing 15 years in prison, but didn’t serve any jail time because he worked out a deal with the New York district attorney.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why even some of Jay-Z’s most loyal fans are criticizing hip-hop’s first billionaire. The resurfaced clip comes on the heels of Jay’s partnership with the NFL as well as the launch of his Inspire Change apparel line, whose ‘woke-a-wear’ gear is allegedly supposed to fund social change.

Maybe Jay-Z didn’t mean his words the way they’ve been received. However, as someone who amassed much of his fortune crafting wordplay for a living, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t be more thoughtful in his speech.

Since he is a savvy businessman, questions as to whether Jay-Z is actually more concerned about his bottom-line than advancing the plight of his people are valid.

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There’s no debate he has used his money and influence many times over the years to do good for the culture. In his song “Programming Your Culture,” Jay-Z even says:

“I do this for my culture / To let them know what a n***a look like when a n***a in a Roadster / Show them how to move in a room full of vultures / Industry is shady, it needs to be taken over …”

His most recent ‘takeovers’ may be at the culture’s expense though. It is irresponsible and negligent at best to suggest Black people who are raised by single parents are disrespectful towards police officers, thus causing their own deaths.

It is bad enough the mainstream societal narrative paints Black people as savage and reprobate thugs with a short fuse; the argument becomes even stronger when it comes from one of the most recognizable voices in our culture – and the world.

Despite his influence, the good he has done and that which he still seeks to do – when it comes to certain things, Jay-Z can only speak for himself.

He is not the authoritative voice for Black people because Black people are not a monolithic group. There are many stories of single mothers who put the fear of God in their children when it came to respecting elders and authority.

But then again, those people are not Jay-Z, so their voices are not as amplified as his. Because of his immense talent, Jay-Z has been given the gift of major influence. He should try his best to use it more wisely.