May 14th, 2012
05:15 PM ET
11 years ago

Jay-Z still has Obama's back

(CNN) – Jay-Z may not be "a huge fan of the [political] system," but the rapper remains a firm supporter of President Barack Obama.

The rapper said Monday in an interview with CNN's Poppy Harlow he knows little of GOP contender Mitt Romney, and considers Obama's announcement of support for states legalizing same-sex marriages to be a political plus.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"I've always thought it as something that was still, um, holding the country back," Jay-Z said of not allowing same-sex coupled to wed. "What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love. That's their business. [It] is no different than discriminating against blacks. It's discrimination plain and simple."

The bonds between the rapper and the president go back at least as far as the 2008 campaign, when candidate Obama said the way to handle political mudslinging was by brushing one's shoulders off - mimicking Jay-Z's trademark move. Jay-Z's hits shuffle on Obama's iPod, he said in July 2010 - alongside the likes of crooner Frank Sinatra and opera great Maria Callas. The rapper and his wife, Beyonce, visited the White House earlier that year, and their VIP tour included a stop inside the Situation Room.

An entrepreneur and music producer, Jay-Z is wealthy - just five years ago, he sold his clothing line for $204 million - and says the president should not be seen as a threat to the business world.

"We should absolutely support business and free enterprise in America, just not criminal activities, you know, unjust practices," he said, adding that "we should help people that are less fortunate than us, and we should all kinda find some balance."

The economic struggles were a test of American "character," he said, suggesting that Obama should be given credit for the current economic picture.

"Reversing the direction of the decline was a full time job in itself, so I think that it's stabilizing a bit now as some of the numbers show," he said.

Jay-Z admitted to being unfamiliar with Romney, and said he did not "want to talk about the man."

The rapper also showed some political savvy, comparing campaign rhetoric to a "hook," the catchy chorus at the core of rap songs.

Politicians "argue points and they forget that at the end of those points are real people, and real people going through real problems. So people put up these talking points and then they say, ok, we got something.

"It's almost like the hook of a song. Like I would go in a studio and say, I have this huge hook," he said. "At the end of [the rhetoric] there's real people."

Also see:

Ron Paul to end active campaigning

RNC, Team Romney roll out debt attack on Obama

Leading progressive group attacks Romney over women's issues

Obama headlines two high dollar fundraisers in NYC

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. cali girl

    Well said JayZ. It is all about the people. At the end of the day it is about the real people.

    May 14, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. Little Jimmy Truth

    Don't forget about Kanye West. He is 100% loyal to Obama. Oh, he dislikes Taylor Swift and George Bush.

    May 14, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. Myviewis

    Seriously, Romney cannot compete, these people have way too much money and power for Republicans to compete. Republicans cannot go up against this elite people. Jay-Z is powerful and Romney cannot go up against Jay-Z. Jay-Z can win this campaign for Obama easily. Republicans only have Christians and not even elite ones or influential at that. What famous, rich, elite christian can go up against Jay-Z?????? None!

    May 14, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. marisombra

    who cares?

    May 14, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. @OmegaRaiel

    Jay-Z spouts wisdom.

    May 14, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Jay Z says he's not familiar with Romney, well join the crowd, the Republicans aren't either and I'm not so sure Romney's familiar with Romney.

    May 14, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Indyswimmer66

    Brava JayZ!

    May 14, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. Brendan B

    Since when did Jay Z become such a political expert? We all know he is supporting Obama just because he's black

    May 14, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Larry L

    This is a gift to the closet KKK members who love to make hateful and racist comments. They'll be wetting their sheets with excitement!

    May 14, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. Romney is not My Hero

    When did Stevie Wonder shave his dreads? Oh, it's just Jay-Z. Anyway, I don't really care what this self-proclaimed J-E-H-O-V-A-H has to say about anything. I support the President because I want to, not because of this person.

    OBAMA 2012!

    May 14, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  11. Jesse Jackson

    Rapper blindly supports Obama just because he's black. Is this news?

    May 14, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. brainjohnson2011

    I agree that it is no ones business what people do in their bedrooms, and that's exactly why the government needs to back off! The government has no business recognizing marriages of any kind, and that fact that Jay-Z is on the right track is good, but he still hasn't... um... figured out the correct solution: Back off Gov! Recognize NO marriage. Marriage has NOTHING to do with Gov!

    May 14, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. PDXtoNOLA

    So where's Oprah, Sharpton, and Sydney Poitier on all this? As time passes I hope to see to see more influential african americans stand up and speak so eloquently on this issue. Time to make history, folks. Well done, Z.

    May 14, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. Jason P

    Jay z, bravo! He knows how to pick a real winner in President Obama!

    May 14, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  15. The Prince of Common Cents

    Discrimination in ANY form is discrimination in EVERY form....

    May 14, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  16. marctheduck

    Well, I am just very surprised at how easily Obama has locked up the rap vote. Well, Yes He Can!

    May 14, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  17. Brando

    Polygamists are next in line for this "civil rights" battle. It should be fun to watch how it plays out.

    May 14, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  18. Jim

    Let the Dems tax JAy-Z's wealth at a 70% rate, which they ultimately want. Take 700 million of his 1 billion, then see how he feels. Because, of course, the govt DESERVES 70 percent of what someone EARNS.

    May 14, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  19. Kenneth

    Funny how when a man of color supports the President some believe it is only because they share a darker shade and deem it racism. Most people of color are not voting for President Obama because they share cultural commonality but because they sense a kinship with his efforts. In that regard President Obama is unifying the Americans who believe that we share in the success or failure of our country as ONE and not as the haves verses the have nots. Although the President makes decisions that are not agreed upon by EVERY individual at least he considers ALL people. He not only speaks what he believes but also lives in a manner that coincides with his beliefs.

    President Obama, in my opinion, is the right person for the job during this time. It is my hope that future Presidents stay the course of unifying ALL of the people of this great country. Those who make the claim that President Obama is the first gay President are merely delusional and so set in their way of thinking that it is impossible for them to see the forest for the trees. I hold this man in high esteem not only as a President but as a role model for the family unit. Whether or not that unit consists of a traditional union (one man / one woman) or a union of two people that share the same genitalia is irrelevant. The manner in which he and Michelle approach nurturing their family is a model for all. It's not about what is said about you but how you present a united front against all obstacles. The message I have received from this Presidency is that we need to be less judgmental of others and more knowledgeable of the plight of those less fortunate. Thank you Mr. President and the First FAMILY!

    May 15, 2012 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  20. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Ever wonder what kind of president Mitt Romney would be or how trustworthy he would be and whether he would look out for America's most important asset, the American people? Well, you need not look any further than the teapublican controlled House of Representatives! Remember they ran on the premise of creating jobs for the American people? The problem with that is that when the teapublicans took control of the House of Representatives, they didn't do what they said they were going to do and subsequently they refused to work with the current administration to create jobs and improve the economy! Then they voted to slash domestic programs for seniors, the disabled, women, students, military families and the middle class! As president, do you believe for one minute that Mitt Romney would go against the domestic agenda of the teapublicans who are supporting his election bid to support mainstreet America? Republican Richard Lugar spent 36 years in congress, reaching across the isle and compromising with democrats to pass legislation for the American people! Something our Founding Fathers orchestrated when they created the systen of Checks and Balances and a two-party system! However, Richard Lugar was voted out of office in favor of Richard Mourdock, a tea party activist who said republicans must not compromise with democrats! And what is even more freightening is that the likes of Richard Mourdock supports Mitt Romney hands down! So do you believe for one minute that a president Romney would look out for the best interest and welfare of the American people? Hey, its your call!

    May 15, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  21. AEN

    Please don't put it out there like we care. If you chose to vote for someone based on celebrity endorsement, then you are making a thoughtless and critical mistake.

    May 15, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  22. Canopy

    "Balance"...thats the buzz word for the year!

    May 15, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  23. sonnie3

    Jz and Obama one day will have to get out of there worldly pleasures and face the Good Lord Almight on Judgement day and if Satan wins there will be weaping nashing of teeth, And of they are Gods childred, then heaven is there Home. I and my family will take the moral road and go marching in with God on Judgement day. If you don't stand for something, then you will fall for anything. Leviticus 18-22, "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a women-Thatis detestable"

    May 15, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  24. Andy Smith

    I've heard this comment or something similar made for a while now, that black folks only voted for Obama because he is black, as if there's something wrong with that. I don't see anything wrong with that, because a lot of American votes vote on a single issue, depending on how important it is to them. People vote on just the economy, or just religion, or just marriage equality, or just reproductive rights, etc. Why can't black people vote on a single issue? In the 2008 election, there were probably more non-black people that voted against Obama, just because he's black, than the number of black people who voted for him because he's black.

    May 15, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  25. Sickofidiots

    Black guy backing the president because he is black. How surprising, and why is this even a story.

    May 15, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
1 2