After Jay-Z distanced himself from Occupy Wall Street in comments over the weekend in The New York Times‘ T Style magazine, the movement’s “Guitarmy” plans to respond with a “teach-in” outside the rapper’s September 28th show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The arena is home to the Brooklyn Nets, in which Jay-Z has a small ownership stake.
In the interview, Jay-Z questioned the purpose of Occupy Wall Street, which he attempted to commodify last year with his Rocawear brand. “What’s the thing on the wall, what are you fighting for?” he asked. “I’m not going to a park and picnic, I have no idea what to do, I don’t know what the fight is about. What do we want, do you know?” The rapper claimed he wanted more clarity about the movement’s aims, saying, “When you just say that ‘the one percent is that,’ that’s not true. Yeah, the one percent that’s robbing people, and deceiving people, these fixed mortgages and all these things, and then taking their home away from them, that’s criminal, that’s bad. Not being an entrepreneur. This is free enterprise. This is what America is built on.”
The Guitarmy will offer what they call “a sincere answer to Jay’s question” with the teach-in. “We have spent one year on the streets organizing for exactly the things Jay rapped about in his early days, ending urban poverty, ending Stop & Frisk and police use of lethal force, of returning dignity and hope to the everyday people of New York City. These are simple civil rights issues we know Jay-Z must support, and we would love to help open his heart and mind to the work Occupy has helped do in his own former communities,” the group wrote on Tumblr. “We will ask [one question] of him, one Florence Reece wrote in the 1930s and still matters now, ‘Which Side Are You On?'”
Russell Simmons has also responded to Jay-Z on Twitter, writing, “J. @occupywallstreet is not a blanket indictment of the rich its an indictment of a system that lets the rich bribe R government, luv u.”
Guitarmy’s “teach-in” will take place on September 28th at 6 p.m. outside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.