Tonight at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the culmination of a collegiate football season will hit a fever pitch when Alabama faces Georgia in an epic title game.
However, the accolades of the 12-1 Crimson Tide and their veteran coach Nick Saban, and the SEC champion 13-1 Georgia Bulldogs and their coach Kirby Smart pale in comparison to the two bombshells that can undoubtedly blow up the stadium.
Kendrick Lamar, the millenial generation’s funky melodic “woke” Hip-Hop artist will be performing at the game’s first ever halftime show concert at nearby Centennial Olympic Park. This coupled with Donald Trump attending the game is almost too ironic to bear.
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Dave Chapelle couldn’t have scripted it any better. The culmination of a polarizing NFL season, rife with either contempt for or love of its athletes kneeling as a symbol of protest, is such a provocative backdrop that it Damn near begs (pun intended) the instigation of Lamar in the face of Presidential deference.
Trump‘s omnipresence is constant in the form of random disjointed tweets where he callously espouses his opinions about world leaders and culture. One notorious tweet signaled his opinions about Colin Kaepernick and the other NFL players that took a knee with a single derogatory label attributed to them, “sons of bitches”. In one tweet, not only did Trump disrespect the Consitution he swore to protect with the right to protest, but also black womanhood by directly offending the mothers of the kneeling athletes, the majority of whom are men of color.
Unless you have been away from the pulse of pop culture for the last few years, Kendrick Lamar is the poster boy of the millenial cool yet conscientious Hip-Hop artist. Equipped with an old soul, a voracious appetite for world history, and lyrical dexterity paired with funk-inspired beats, Lamar is literally the antithesis of the Donald Trump effect.
Lamar is a thinker and measured in his approach and attack. Of particular importance for him is the recognition of the natural beauty of black women
It is why all of his albums are classics, but none more so than To Pimp A Butterfly, a scathing ode to blackness that boasted a simulated hood revival at the gates of the White House as its album cover art. Lamar is jazz and funk mixed with boom bap and these uniquely American products re-purposed within the Compton emcee are as patriotic as they are an affront to Trump’s classist viewpoint.
You almost have to wonder if Trump is almost daring Lamar to make a statement tonight. Let’s be honest, his presence is an instigator by itself and for the man who reinvigorated the spirit of Kunta Kinte into a socially conscious club track, it is possible he will take the bait like a great white shark to blood-soaked chum tossed overboard.
It is a sign of America’s daily confrontation with its two faces and further exacerbates the global narrative that Donald Trump has further exposed the racial-discrepancy-beast beneath the veneer of America’s gilded facade. And it will not be tamed.
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This morning, the NAACP encouraged people to wear white in response to Trump supporters labeling of his opposition as “snowflakes”.
Another group, Refuse Fascism ATL announced that before kickoff they’ll “take a knee against Trump” outside CNN’s world headquarters located in Atlanta in solidarity with athletes who have knelt during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.
All together and not counting what might occur during Lamar’s set, the spectacle has the potential to be a powder keg of epic proportions. And if anyone was suited for the challenge of having a deft but definitive hand, it is the brave Lamar.
The only thing that would make this better is if both LaVar Ball and Colin Kaepernick came out and took a knee during the recitation of “King Kunta” while Lamar and his freshly laid box braids bounce across the airwaves and into the nervously palpitating heart of America.