Eminem stopped work on an upcoming movie, Southpaw, today. He explained that at this point in his career, he wanted to focus on his music. Though a disappointment for his hometown Detroit, where shooting was to take place, and fans who’d like to see him back on the big screen 8 Mile style, it may mean good news for music fans…and sociologists? Lately Slim Shady has been getting quoted left and right, as an authority on white rappers after the recent death of Beastie Boys MCA Adam Yauch, and more surprisingly, as a voice for racial issues in America. When he described the rap group as “trailblazers and pioneers,” he surely meant that without their talents he could never have been voted Best Rapper Alive by Vibe magazine. Much of his statements are angry, crude, and rhyming, but his career does speak to the changing face of rap and culture in America.
Eminem has always been comfortable teaming up with both black and white artists, including a wildly popular appearance with Lil Wayne on SNL in 2010. However, author David Sirota takes it one step further, putting the man born Marshall Mathers in the same category as Bruce Spingsteen in terms of speaking out about freedom and justice in the USA. In his song “White America” Eminem quips, “I musta struck a chord with somebody up in the office, ’cause Congress keeps tellin’ me I ain’t causing nothin but problems.” By refusing to accept what “white” used to mean, Eminem is breaking racial barriers and moving us forward. There’s no way to know if being political is going to help his career, or if he’s even doing it on purpose. At the end of the day, Eminem has always let us know exactly what he’s thinking, and his fans (and even the haters in secret) have to respect him for it.