Talking about race, J. Cole says "I might not be as successful as I am now if I was dark skin" in a recent interview.
Priding himself on constructing thoughtful lyrics, J. Cole has come under fire of late for derogatory terms used in lyrics towards homosexuals, and autistic people. Always open to discuss the matter, J. Cole was interviewed by BET as he promoted the video game Splinter Cell: Blacklist. The discussion became heavy and he discussed how being “light-skinned” has been advantageous for his career.
First using President Obama as an example, Cole says he believes Barack would not had been elected had he been “dark-skinned” then says that his own career would not be as successful if he was “dark-skinned.” The North Carolina rapper says it’s a subconscious thing that most people don’t even notice, and he just wants people to be aware.
Check out a couple excerpts from the interview below, where the Born Sinner rapper talks about wanting to produce his own music early in his career, but now he’s interested in working with top-name producers. Plus his take on the “light-skinned, dark skinned issue.”
You don't get this far without taking risks. What's been your biggest creative risk? Producing all my own songs and refusing to go to the hot producer. That’s the biggest risk I’ve taken so far. Constantly taking that risk by not going to whoever is hot and still be as far as I am. It’s a blessing but it’s also been a huge risk because I’m not using the current hip hop sound. Whoever does the beats for people; I didn’t go run to them. Of course I will now because I want to now, I’m tired of having to make the beats from scratch. Up to this point, that’s been my biggest risk I’ve taken, deciding to do it all on my own, production wise. [...]
You’ve talked about including dark-skinned women in your music videos versus all light-skinned women. The light-skinned, dark-skinned issue certainly affects women in hip hop; does it affect men in hip hop? I can’t say it for sure but I just think we’re still in America. We’re still Black Americans. Those mental chains are still in us. That brainwashing that tells us that light skin is better, it’s subconsciously in us, whether we know it or not… still pursuing light skin women. There are some women out there that are like, “I don’t even like light skin men” and that’s fine. But Barack Obama would not be President if he were dark skin. You know what I mean? That’s just the truth. I might not be as successful as I am now if I was dark skin. I’m not saying that for sure, I’m still as talented as I am and Obama is still as smart as he is, but it’s just a sad truth… I don’t even know if this is going to translate well into text and people not hearing what I’m saying, but it’s a sad reality.