Harlem Rapper A$AP Rocky recently found himself at the center of a social media firestorm over insensitive comments he made in a 2015 interview with Time Out New York.
In the interview, A$AP was asked about whether or not he felt like he was being forced to publicly address current social and political issues as an entertainer. His response left much to be desired. "They’re not forcing me to do s---. I’m just gonna stay black and die," he told the outlet. "Why, because I’m black? So every time something happens because I’m black I gotta stand up? What the f--- am I, Al Sharpton now? I’m A$AP Rocky. I did not sign up to be no political activist. I wanna talk about my motherf-----’ lean, my best friend dying, the girls that come in and out of my life, the jiggy fashion that I wear, my new inspirations in drugs!"
He continued on to specifically mention Ferguson, Missouri, where unarmed Black teen Mike Brown was fatally gunned down in 2014 by police officer Darren Wilson, who would later avoid facing any criminal charges for the shooting. "I don’t wanna talk about no f-----Ferguson and s--- because I don’t live over there! I live in f----- Soho and Beverly Hills. I can’t relate. I’m in the studio; I’m in these fashion studios; I’m in these b-----s’ drawers. I’m not doing anything outside of that. That’s my life.”
A$AP appeared on Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club morning show in New York on Wednesday to elaborate on his commentary in light of the criticism he received once the story resurfaced late last week. "I feel terrible as a Black man and as an American," he told host Charlamagne. He later added that his comments were "taken out of context," and spoke openly about how he believes some white journalists often twist his words in interviews to gain notoriety.
See what our ESSENCE Live panel had to say about A$AP's comments in the video below.