We did it again, Brooklyn
The TIs who enlisted Jay-Z as the black cosigner on the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn may have overestimated the political opposition to such a project, and hence the need for a black cosigner in the first place.
It's a good thing his stake in the New Jersey Nets is less than 1%, which I read just now over on Sandra Rose. If he draws an income from that at all, it can't be very much money, especially compared to what the real owners of the New Jersey Nets make. If I were Jay-Z, I'm not sure if I'd feel right, knowing my cut is such a tiny fraction of what those other guys make.
At least as a hip-hop journalist you can take a certain comfort in knowing that even the most well paid person in your field would take a job in what essentially amounts to data entry, when the checks stop coming in. The concept of pride is quite literally above our pay scale. The only journalist who has a shedload of money is Thomas Friedman, and that's just because his wife owns a lot of the shopping malls you find in ghetto areas. When a black kid with self-esteem issues due to fatherlessness spends a month's worth of section eight rent on a pair of Nikes, it contributes to globalization in more ways than you'd think.
I'm not saying I would scoff at however much money less than 1% of the New Jersey Nets is worth, if someone wanted to pay me that as compensation for running PR interference for a plan to build a Wal-Mart right here in my shanty town. I don't trust the people in this neighborhood enough to care if they ended up displaced. I'm just saying. I could take my next check from XXL, if there is one, and use it to buy .000000001% of the Nets, or however much it would afford me, and technically I'd own less than 1% of the Nets just like Jay-Z.
Then I could cruise the local high school here for a chick whose ass would require her to fly business class, if she ever went anywhere, and I'd really be like Jay-Z. Roffle.
I guess for what it's worth that's still a pretty sweet paycheck just for having to show up to a press conference on a random Thursday afternoon in March and listen to some old Jew joke about how he wants to fuck your wife. Jay-Z may not have even minded the bit about his wife. I watched the video of the press conference a couple of times, and it was hard for me to get a read on whether Jay-Z had any concept of the vile nature of that joke. You'd think someone with a proper frame of reference would have at least given a side eye like the one Samuel L Jackson gave Mo'nique at the Oscars, as if to suggest that they realize how wrong this all is, they're just there for the money.
To think, the same bank behind this Atlantic Yards project used to own slaves. A few hundred years ago, another of its employees probably stood on a stage not unlike the one Jay-Z stood on the other day and touted the attributes of some ridonkulously well endowed black woman. You know good and well the guy from the plantation whose job it was to bid on women at auction chose them primarily on the basis of their looks - both for breeding purposes, and for their own personal amusement. In many cases, both. That's probably why they were auctioned off naked. It's not like it would have cost that much to get them some clothes. The god damn plantation grew cotton, fer chrissakes. Maybe they did bring shirts, for the women with fucked up bodies. Or did they just toss them overboard during the middle passage? Keep in mind I don't mean that as a joke. Slavery is no laughing matter. It's arguably worse than the Holocaust. No Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.
Beyonce is mad light skinted herself. This is gonna sound far-fetched, but what if that's because one of Beyonce's ancestors was one of the better-looking women at an auction held by the same bank behind the Atlantic Yards project. It's not inconceivable, when you think that there couldn't have been very many banks involved in the slave trade, especially given how difficult it is to find a white person, or a white company, who will admit to having descended from slave owners. Barclays Bank is the only one I can think of off the top of my head. And you know slavery was one big fuckfest. A while back, there was a study released that said that pretty much all black people except white people. That seems like way more miscegenation than you'd think, until you consider what you'd do, if you were in that situation. Remember that El-P song where he and Cage pretended to be guards on a prison ship? It's probably impossible to hold an attractive woman captive and not take advantage of her at least a little bit. And the women may have even gone along with it. Beyonce's ancestors may have been "sexual heroes," per the theory put forth by Toure's cousin and/or the song "Brown Sugar" by the Rolling Stones.
The thing is, how many people even sit around and think about shit like that? Probably just me and Toure. And Toure is friends with Jay-Z, and I don't even live in Brooklyn. When video of the press conference hit the Internets yesterday, people didn't seem to be at all concerned with the historical connotation of, or the political fuckery involved with the Atlantic Yards project. It was like the '08 presidential election all over again: it's probably not gonna work out well for black people in the long run, but it was soothing to the ego. There were a shedload of people there protesting, but I heard they were all white. They at least had the sense to realize that the Atlantic Yards project is an epic fail for Brooklyn, but even they didn't have the political clout to do much about it. They managed to tie it up in court for a couple of years before they could finally break ground on it, during which it became increasingly obvious that the tax revenue it would generate wouldn't be anything like what they promised, and hence the public money used to build it (you get to pay for it, but only Jay-Z gets to own it), not to mention the eminent domain landgrab, was even less justifiable than initially thought, but the TIs still managed to ram it through. They seem to have a knack for ramming it through.