(AllHipHop News) Jay Z, the drug dealer turned rapper turned businessman, has been both praised and criticized for his ascent to the 1%. Famed real estate developer R. Donahue “Don” Peebles spoke with Nitecap with Peter Bailey about mainstream America’s perception of Jay. The discussion centered around the idea of black youth feeling the need to come from struggle or a life of crime to become successful.
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That is how American society is comfortable defining black men. Unfortunately, we perpetuate it, because we as a community will hold them up as role models. We will buy into that. It’s a safe example for white America to see black men doing this as opposed to running a business like I am or being Robert Smith of Vista.
That’s different. That doesn’t fit the box. Jay Z fits the box, and he fits the code. Think about: Did Mick Jagger have that kind of influence over Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan? Did Frank Sinatra become the spokesperson for the Reagans?
Entertainment is a business, but the entertainers are not those that are setting policy or are role models held up for their kids. Very few white parents want their kids to grow up and be Justin Bieber or Britney Spears. They’re not saying put all your eggs into being Britney Spears. They’re saying put all your eggs into getting an education and that the American Dream is fully accessible to you.
As the founder, chairman and CEO of the Peebles Corporation, Peebles runs the largest African American-owned real estate development and ownership company in the United States. The 56-year-old entrepreneur has also been very active in Democratic politics, and he is an author of two books.
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Watch a portion of Don Peebles’ interview below.