Critics have called attention to Ice Cube’s alleged anti-Asian and anti-Semitic past following the NFL’s announcement of its partnership with the rapper’s Contract With Black America (CWBA) Institute, an economic equity initiative.
The NFL, which has been aiming to boost its work with Black-owned businesses, announced the partnership on June 30. The collaboration is set to focus on “identifying league-wide opportunities in the financial, tech, and production sectors, with a concentration on increasing spending to Black business nationwide to help close America’s racial and economic wealth gap.”
The NFL has reportedly spent more than $125 million on Black businesses over the past year, including Ariel Investments, CityFirst/Broadway Bank, Cover Communications and Fearless Technology. Ice Cube said the league and his initiative have been working closely for more than a year already, though the announcement appears to mark the beginning of an official partnership.
“We feel like if you tackle the huge wealth gap between Black people and White people in this country, that should solve a lot of problems that’s there,” Ice Cube, whose real name is O’Shea Jackson, told the “AP Pro Football Podcast” on June 30. “Our thing was to go after some of the biggest companies in the country that rely on Black consumers or Black workers, and the biggest one that we focused in on was the NFL.”
Aside from Ice Cube, CWBA is led by entertainment lawyer and his longtime business partner Jeff Kwatinetz, as well as advisors Ja’Ron Smith and Chris Pilkerton.
As a prominent artist, Ice Cube is the face of their initiative. For this reason, critics were quick to remind the public of his history of targeting Jewish and Asian people in his songs.
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On July 1, The Washington Free Beacon cited Ice Cube’s use of the phrases “White Jew” and “cracker” to refer to Jewish music producer Jerry Heller in his song “No Vaseline.”
The Free Beacon story described Ice Cube as “an anti-Semitic rapper who in his songs has called for violence against Jews and Asians.” In “No Vaseline,” he rapped “Get rid of that devil real simple, put a bullet in his temple.”
In “Black Korea,” which is purportedly about racism against the Black community by Korean shop owners in Los Angeles, Ice Cube threatened to “burn your store right down to a crisp.’’ He also called the store owners in the song “Oriental one penny countin’ motherf*ckers” and “little Chinese motherf*cker.”
In the preceding song “Horny Lil’ Devil,” Ice Cube raps, “Go down to the corner store and beat the Jap up.”
All three tracks were part of his studio album “Death Certificate.” The album was released on Oct. 31, 1991, a few months after Rodney King fell victim to police brutality in Los Angeles and escalated years-long tensions between Black and Korean community members. Ice Cube most recently stirred controversy in June 2020 when he posted tweets in support of Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who has referred to Jews as “wicked deceivers of the American people” and compared them to “termites.”
Several Twitter users criticized the NFL’s partnership with Ice Cube following the announcement.
“NFL, Ice Cube partner on economic-equity plan… the black racist bull SHI- in pro sports is amazing,” one user wrote. “That’s why November will be the most damaging to leftists in history. Overwhelming!!!” Another questioned, “Why would you [NFL] hire someone who calls for violence against Asians and Jews to help with ANYTHING???” “How often do you hear about these programs for Hispanic or Asian communities/businesses compared to black 1’s? Who complains about racism the most? I’m not knocking for supporting black communities/businesses. Help all or none, not 1,” another tweeted. To date, Ice Cube has reportedly not apologized for his controversial remarks. He has also threatened to sue journalists who described him as “anti-Semitic.”