Author Topic: Ice Cube Might Have Dinner With the President  (Read 1171 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Ice Cube Might Have Dinner With the President
« on: August 07, 2015, 06:41:28 pm »
Ice Cube Might Have Dinner With the President
AUG. 6, 2015

Interview by ANA MARIE COX

In a trailer for ‘‘Straight Outta Compton,’’ the N.W.A. biopic that you co-produced, you say a lot of people don’t realize that your music was a form of nonviolent protest. Is that because the nonviolent part wasn’t very clear? I think it’s very clear. We put our frustrations on a record, and we were creative. We didn’t make a Molotov cocktail; we didn’t loot no buildings or burn ’em down or none of that. All we did was make music.

After leaving the group, you got into a pretty public conflict with Eazy-E and your ex-manager Jerry Heller. It led to one of your more infamous songs, “No Vaseline.” Did the conflict help you progress as an artist? No. I was making hard-core records without conflict. It was just a distraction. It didn’t help me write or help me focus.

On that song, you rapped that you would never have dinner with the president. Would you have dinner with Obama? Depends. I’d rather have dinner with him when he’s not the president, and then I could hear all the juicy stuff.

I just watched some N.W.A. reunion footage, and it was somewhat chilling. During the performance of ‘‘[expletive] tha Police,’’ you played a montage of the very recent videos of police violence. If you really think about how many unarmed people are getting shot nowadays, it’s alarming. You used to have to have a gun or reach for the knife, now you don’t need no weapon, they just kill you. No judge, no jury — they’re making sure it doesn’t even make it back to the jury.

You hear a lot these days about ‘‘the talk’’ black parents have with their children, warning them that they need to be careful how they interact with law enforcement. Have you had that talk with your children, or do you just have them listen to your old records? Of course, and not only about law enforcement. I’ve had that talk about their teachers, the coach, the doctor, the lawyer and anybody else they come across. I don’t just limit it to law enforcement, because black kids gotta know how to deal with everybody.

Is there a tension between the real-world concerns you have as a parent and the anti-police attitude you express in some of your songs? I think that if you haven’t broken the law, there’s nothing wrong with complying with authority. The thing is: Don’t get shot. Don’t give ’em a reason to put their hands on you. Nothing wrong with complying; just make sure you come home.

Do you think that having smartphones in 1980s Compton would have made a difference? No. There’s photography from the 1800s of lynchings. People went to picnics, and they’d take pictures with somebody burnt to death up there. It doesn’t matter.

One of the more ironic turns in your life is that you’ve played a cop in three movies. Why is that ironic? That’s acting. It would be ironic if I was a real cop.

You’re right. I was going to use that as a segue to talk about black cops. Three black cops were arrested in connection with the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Some people have pointed to this as evidence that police brutality isn’t always about race. It’s not. It’s about power, giving it to people who don’t deserve it: bad cops, corrupt cops, abusive cops. And the problem is not the bad cops, the problem is the good cops, because they won’t tell on the bad cops. They got a no-snitching policy, and then they expect us not to have one in the hood.

You were more openly political in the early ’90s. Are you more comfortable with just being an entertainer today? Yes. I do more than just wake people up. I make ’em happy, I make ’em sad, I make ’em cry. That’s my job.

On your song ‘‘True to the Game,’’ from 1991, you are very critical of black entertainers who sell out for acceptance by whites. Do you feel differently now that you’re embraced by white audiences? I haven’t sold out to no white audience.

How do you know? Because I’m not ashamed of anything