While promoting his new single and commemorating the MLK holiday, rapper and former politician Wyclef Jean was subjected to extreme criticism for a misunderstood “All lives matter” tweet despite being a staunch Black Lives Matter supporter.
The tweet featured a clip from his latest single, “Life Matters” that will appear on his upcoming EP “J’ouvert.” Within three hours, the tweet supposedly dedicated to unity and MLK was removed.
seven years since I put a body of work out to the world. It's like stripping down to my soul. ready for pre-order https://t.co/jsDeSTI0uz pic.twitter.com/3A7rZtqZZP
— Wyclef Jean (@wyclef) January 13, 2017
In that short time span, the now-deleted tweet drew the ire of Black Twitter users who felt the hip hop legend misconstrued MLK’s message. And many saw the comment as a slight against the movement.
Still chuckling at Wyclef putting Martin Luther King Jr & "All Lives Matter" in the same sentence.
— Zee (@CocoapuffKisses) January 16, 2017
it's odd that u would use footage from an action in support of the Movement 4 Black Lives for a tone deaf, ridiculous, ALM…thing
— Dadmonger (@Strug_Life) January 16, 2017
Critics of the Black Lives Matter movement have routinely used “all lives matter” as a tactic to discredit and silence activists fighting for criminal justice reform.
In one instance, Republican 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee stated in 2015 that MLK would not approve of the BLM movement because the name allegedly excluded others and was overtly racist.
But Jean did not dismiss the movement or the activists involved. After the backlash, the rapper replied to his angry fans and supporters with a second tweet with a video interview attached where he professed his admiration for the BLM movement.
I appreciate all of your passion. But my message was definitely misunderstood. Here's a recent interview that clarifies my stance… pic.twitter.com/1lNJutKPK3
— Wyclef Jean (@wyclef) January 17, 2017
Jean told the interviewer that it is common knowledge that all lives matter, but the execution of Black people must come to an end.
“The reason why Black Lives Matter is that you can’t keep executing Black people in broad daylight and it is on video and you get away with it,” he says in the clip. “That is why Black Lives Matter. It’s the same thing if you got back to it when they were lynching. … We are not saying that white lives don’t matter. … Only idiots would be saying ‘Why do Black lives matter?'”
His fans rejoiced. Many said that if he posted the interview in the first place, the controversy would have been avoided altogether.
If Wyclef Jean had linked this video in the first place he wouldn't have had the whole of Black Twitter on his ass. https://t.co/9XqcObJ3hC
— Princess👑⚖️ (@Princess976) January 17, 2017