At the Oct. 6 BET Hip Hop Awards, rapper and actor Eminem delivered a fierce attack on President Donald Trump, unleashing on the president’s controversial tactics while also giving his fans who support Trump a very important and necessary ultimatum: Be an Eminem or Trump fan, but not both.
The four-minute freestyle, called “The Storm,” involved the rapper attacking the president’s comments following the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and his position against the NFL protests. He predicts Trump will start a nuclear holocaust, and criticized Trump’s inaction on gun reform following the Las Vegas shooting and lack of proper assistance to Puerto Rico after the U.S. territory was devastated by Hurricane Maria.
He ended the verbal bashing by calling out any fans who support Trump and telling them to choose sides, ultimately cutting off anyone that finds themselves unable to make the decision.
“Any fan of mine who’s a supporter of his/ I’m drawing in the sand a line: you’re either for or against,” the artist rapped.
Eminem’s message is clear: Support for Trump and his actions is damaging and will not be tolerated, even if you are a fan. Some fans, while upset that they had to, have already denounced the rapper and made their decision to support the president over him. While Eminem isn’t the first artist to call out Trump and his controversial actions, his doing so is very relevant considering his fan base is heavy with Trump supporters.
According to an Aug. 7 New York Times article, Eminem’s fan base is most prevalent in whiter, rural locations, including West Virginia, Southern Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, Northern Maine and the Ozark region in Missouri. In a July 14, 2016, Business Insider article, music streaming service Pandora ranked Eminem as the number one artist in Vermont, Montana, North Dakota, Maine and Wyoming.
According to a July 24 Gallup News article, those same states—excluding Vermont—were of 17 states that were reported as having higher Trump approval ratings during the first half of 2017.
However, there is a problem with the amount of attention Eminem gets for attacking Trump’s actions when black musicians and artists have done the same without as much support. While many celebrities are praised for using their platform to promote change and make an impact, they are often condemned for doing so because they are unfairly deemed unqualified to speak on everyday social issues. For example, while some praised Beyoncé’s 2016 Super Bowl performance supporting Black Lives Matter and the Black Panthers, it was also labeled as anti-police and severely criticized.
“For a girl who grew up in a privileged, wealthy family, she has no business pandering to those who didn’t,” one woman wrote in a Facebook post.
Eminem has always been known for his bold, expressive and oftentimes controversial song lyrics. He has never been afraid of taking strong stands, and this time is no different. Although he is likely safe from the pushback other artists get for doing the same thing, the fact that he took the risk of losing even a small number of fans to spread his message proves how important the issues are to him. Monetary and supportive losses do not supersede the moral burden of not speaking out. Eminem rightfully used his platform to spread an important message: Trump’s actions are out of line and should not be tolerated on any level.