‘Blood is on your hands, Biden’: US rapper Macklemore gives support to Palestine and campus protests

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Chart-topping US rapper Macklemore has released a new track, Hind’s Hall, which gives robust support to Palestine as well as those protesting at US universities against Israel’s activity in Gaza.

Hind’s Hall is named after the Columbia University building, renamed from Hamilton Hall by occupying student protesters to reference Hind Rajab, a six-year-old child killed in Gaza.

“If students in tents posted on the lawn / Occupying the quad is really against the law / And a reason to call in the police and their squad / Where does genocide land in your definition, huh?” he raps, referring to the police crackdown against protests.

As well as condemning Israel’s campaign in Gaza, Columbia students are calling for their university to divest from companies linked to Israel – a call that has been repeated in other campuses across the US. Last week New York police arrested more than 100 people protesting at Columbia, including some occupying Hamilton Hall. More than 2,000 people have been arrested over US campus protests.

In Hind’s Hall, Macklemore characterises Israel as “a state that’s gotta rely on an apartheid system to uphold an occupying violent history been repeating for the last 75 [years]”, and says he has experienced support from Jewish people in solidarity with the pro-Palestine protests. “We see the lies in them, claiming it’s antisemitic to be anti-Zionist / I’ve seen Jewish brothers and sisters out there and riding in solidarity and screaming ‘Free Palestine’ with them”.

He addresses Joe Biden, saying “blood is on your hands”, and says he will not be voting for him later this year.

He had previously been a supporter of the Democrats, appearing alongside Barack Obama to discuss the opioid crisis and opposing Donald Trump with chants at concerts. He released a song, Wednesday Morning, after Trump’s 2016 election win with the lyrics: “No time for apathy, no more tears and no complaining / Gotta fight harder for the next four and what we’re faced with.”

Macklemore also criticises the music industry for not being more outspoken during the war in Gaza. “The music industry’s quiet, complicit in their platform of silence,” he raps, adding “I want a ceasefire, fuck a response from Drake” – a reference to the beef between Drake and Kendrick Lamar which has consumed the US music industry in recent weeks.

The tension between the rappers’ verbal conflict and the real conflict in Gaza has not gone unnoticed elsewhere: “It’s Hard to Care About a Rap War in the Middle of a Real One,” ran the headline of a Rolling Stone article last week.

Macklemore is perhaps still best known for lighthearted songs such as 2012’s Thrift Shop, which topped the US and UK charts, but he is also known for socially conscious material. His track Same Love voiced support for same-sex marriage and the LGBTQ+ community while criticising hip-hop culture for homophobia, while Wing$ lamented poverty and criticised consumerism.

He appeared incognito at Black Lives Matter protests and in 2016 examined his position as a white person at the protests and in rap culture more broadly – which had caused him to be accused of cultural appropriation – with the track White Privilege II.

Source: theguardian.com

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