Macklemore has apologized to anyone offended by the costume, which many perceived as anti-Semitic, that he wore to a recent concert. In a statement on his website, he wrote that he never intended to come across as a Jewish caricature. “Unfortunately at the time I did not foresee the costume to be viewed in such regard,” he wrote. “I’m saddened that this story, or any of my choices, would lead to any form of negativity.”
The Seattle rapper had surprised fans with a short set at the Experience Music Project Museum last Friday night, as well as with his get-up: a large nose, bowl-cut wig and Hasidic-looking beard. In the note, Macklemore said that he decided to go to the gig in disguise so that he could walk around incognito and truly surprise fans when he took the stage. He had assembled the outfit from a witch nose he’d bought at a costume shop and some faux hair he picked because it was the furthest from his natural hair color.
“Disguise was the intention,” Macklemore wrote. “I personally thought I looked very ambiguous in terms of any ‘type’ of person. Some people there thought I looked like Ringo, some Abe Lincoln. If anything, I thought I looked like Humpty Hump with a bowl cut.” Later in the missive, he added, “The character I dressed up as on Friday had no intended cultural identity or background. I wasn’t attempting to mimic any culture, nor resemble one. A ‘Jewish stereotype’ never crossed my mind.”
While the rapper was surprised and disappointed that people were so quick to assert that his costume was anti-Semitic, Macklemore acknowledged how, “within the context of stereotyping,” the costume could be seen as a Jewish caricature, and apologized to those who were offended.
“I hope that anyone who may question my intent take a few moments to discover the human and artist that I strive to be,” he wrote. “I respect all cultures and all people. I would never intentionally put down anybody for the fabric that makes them who they are. I love human beings, love originality, and. . . happen to love a weird outfit from time to time.”
The goof is a blemish on an otherwise monstrous year for Macklemore. Back in January, he and producer Ryan Lewis picked up two Grammys, including Best Rap Album (though as he later told Kendrick Lamar, and the world, he felt the Compton rapper was “robbed”). The rapper delivered a truly unique Grammy performance as well, delivering his pro-gay, pro-unity track “Same Love” as 34 gay and straight couples were married on stage.