Over the past few months, we’ve seen tons of celebrities — many in the hip-hop community — rally behind quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick. Jay-Z praised him mid-concert, Diddy voiced his encouragement, Eminem shouted him out, and now Miguel has put two Kaepernick-supporting references on his new album, War & Leisure.
Speaking to MTV News correspondent Gaby Wilson, Miguel explained that the two references — one of which was made by J. Cole on “Come Through and Chill,” and the other by Rick Ross on “Criminal” — weren’t exactly intentional.
“It wasn’t that we had a moment and I was like, ‘Man, let’s bring in these current events’ or anything like that,” he said. “I think this is just what’s on our mind. It’s hard not to address the things that we’re seeing at this point. We’re just at a place where we can’t ignore it anymore.”
The Kaepernick references are prime examples of how artists today are using their platforms to speak about issues that matter. Being conscious of that responsibility, Miguel said, is what makes him, Ross, and Cole “leaders.”
“I look at Ross and Cole and anyone who’s got any bit of attention — especially when they take these moments and use them as opportunities to bring light to things that they feel are important — I look at them as leaders,” he explained. “I feel like I’m a leader in this way; I’m guilty by association. So Ross’s own subconscious, how he’s feeling, informed him on what to say on that verse. And that’s why I think it’s a special verse, because we rarely hear Ross on that page.”
He continued, “You know, Kaepernick is a hero. He’s a hero. And still hasn’t got his just due. We all feel that and we know that. I think as leaders, we celebrate other leaders. This was an opportunity to do it, and they both did it incredibly.”