ENTERTAINMENT

Jewish Group Says Jay-Z Lyric Plays Into Anti-Semitic Stereotypes

The Anti-Defamation League has raised concerns about a line in “The Story of O.J.”

08/07/2017 08:18 SAST | Updated 08/07/2017 08:18 SAST

Jay-Z has 99 problems and the lyrics on one of his new songs might be one.

After being accused of anti-Semitism for lyrics on his new album, the Anti-Defamation League, an organization working to combat anti-Semitism, has expressed concerns over a line in Jay's song, "The Story of O.J.," from his newly released album, "4:44."

In the song, he raps: "You wanna know what's more important than throwin' away money at a strip club? Credit / You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it."

A representative for the ADL told Rolling Stone they believed the lyric is problematic because it "does seem to play into deep-seated anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews and money."

"The idea that Jews 'own all the property' in this country and have used credit to financially get ahead are odious and false," the rep continued, noting, "such notions have lingered in society for decades, and we are concerned that this lyric could feed into preconceived notions about Jews and alleged Jewish 'control' of the banks and finance."

The organization does not, however, think Jay's intent was to offend Jewish people or promote anti-Semitism, as they added, he "is someone who has used his celebrity in the past to speak out responsibly and forcefully against the evils of racism and anti-Semitism."

HuffPost reached out to a representative for Jay-Z for more information and will update this post accordingly.

Before the ADL even raised concerns, people on Twitter were already calling the rapper out for perpetuating a negative stereotype about Jewish people.

Fellow hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons came to Jay's defense with a post on Facebook earlier this week.

"From music to film, television, fashion, technology and financial services, the hip-hop community including myself have partnered with Jews where there were no blacks to partner with," he wrote, adding, "It was blacks and Jews creating new opportunity and new wealth [sic] Jay Z was celebrating that bond that was built when no other community gave and continues to give us as much support in our fight for liberation in this very white country."

He continued, "He should not offer a single apology and we should not feed into the silly narrative. To all those focusing on negativity go buy the album, it's focused on positivity."

Jay also found an ally in Madonna's manager, Guy Oseary.

In a post on Instagram last week, Oseary defended the 47-year-old rapper, writing, "If you read the lyrics out of context I can understand why people are jumping to that conclusion .. But if you listen to the song in its entirety you will hear that the whole of the song is based on exaggerated stereotypes to make a point .."

He added, "In my opinion, Jay is giving the jewish community a compliment."

A post shared by Guy Oseary (@guyoseary) on

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