In a recent interview, Vic Mensa opened up about apologizing to XXXTentacion’s, empathy, and how author bell hooks helped him examine black masculinity and violence.
The Chicago rapper, who’s gearing up to release his new project Hooligans this week, sat down with Power 105’s “The Breakfast Club” on Monday.
“I actually reached out to his mother personally,” adding, “I apologized to her because I didn’t know she would be in attendance… I wouldn’t walk back any of my statements because what I said, I meant. And some more truth came to light not long after,” he said, alluding to the newly released audio of XXXTentacion admitting to domestic abuse and other violent crimes before his death.
At another point in the interview, Mensa explained, “At the end of the day, I do think that the conversation that I was trying to bring up and that I did bring up is a super necessary conversation. Maybe the way of going about it was not the best for the time, but I think the conversation is one that had to be had – talking about violence against women and misogyny in hip-hop, but particularly violence against women. I had a lot of people on the low reach out to me and thank me for that.”
Earlier in the interview, Mensa spoke about how reading bell hooks helped expand his view on black masculinity.
“All the violence and things like that, doesn’t benefit me. That was a big part of me being a kid,” he said.
“My whole life, I was programmed in that way. When I started to read bell hooks, that’s when I peeped game and started to break down why I was so violent.” Mensa may have been referring to bell hooks’ 2003 book, We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity a collection of essays exploring the ways white America marginalizes black men.
Hearing her talk about black masculinity, male masculinity, and how the traditional avenues of being a man were taken from the black man in America all the way back from the boat in slavery, then up through Reconstruction and it was only black women working. Black men had to find their own new ways of feeling masculine or being a man because they weren’t able to be the bread winner — start playing Jazz music, and also being very aggressive and violent. A couple years back, I really started to dissect that. I’m still growing and trying to grow out of those things.