RZA has addressed the Black Lives Matter movement in a wide-ranging political interview with Bloomberg, stressing that “image” is crucial in police relations. “When you think about some of the brothers who are being brutalized by the police, you also got to have them take a look, and us take a look, in the mirror, at the image we portray,” the Wu-Tang Clan producer said.
“If I’m a cop and every time I see a young black youth, whether I watch them on TV, movies, or just see them hanging out, and they’re not looking properly dressed, properly refined, you know, carrying himself, conducting himself proper hours of the day – things that a man does, you’re going to have a certain fear and stereotype of them,” he continued. “I tell my sons, I say, if you’re going somewhere, you don’t have to wear a hoodie – we live in New York, so a hoodie and all that is all good. But sometimes, you know, button up your shirt. Clean up. Look like a young man. You’re not a little kid, you know what I mean? I think that’s another big issue we gotta pay attention to. Is the image that we portray that could invoke a fear into a white officer, or any officer.”
RZA added that the image issue works both ways, saying, “Now that there’s been so much police brutality, a lot of the young people are scared of the cops.” He also described his evolution in police perception over the years. “Look, I wanted to be in law enforcement as a kid,” he said, referencing the characters from TV shows like Baretta and Starsky & Hutch. “You wanted to be these guys, you know what I mean? In the old days, a cop, you’d let him in your house and give him a cookie and milk. Now you’re like,” – he added, recoiling – “yo, yo yo, yo.”
Ironing home his views on a complex issue, RZA told Bloomberg, “Of course black lives matter. All lives matter. I stopped eating meat because their lives matter to me. I don’t think it’s necessary for us to grow a cow to kill it.”