We've seen this before, right? Michael Jordan plays basketball against evil foreigners to save the world? That's not a peace summit. That's Space Jam 2. M.J. could solve this whole thing in a day! Listen, Mike, if you're watching, all you gotta do is go to North Korea, befriend Kim Jong-un, and let that little Make-A-Wish dictator dunk on you.
When I was younger, I didn't feel very racial. I felt more like a kid. Around the time I was 11 or 12 years old is around the time when the world decides for you, decides that you are black and society has deemed you this. . . . I started to realize as police were singling me out and treating me different than my white counterparts in our little, you know, transgressions, I started to realize that the world had decided for me, and that I was branded.
The south side is a hotbed of culture. When you talk about hip-hop and dance—a lot of things that black people have revolutionized—you're talking about art that comes from struggle. And the south side is clearly struggling. . . . I was just navigating my way through that, and I experienced a lot of eye-opening inequalities that really influenced me musically and as a man. To see how economic disparity could be so transparent, and to live five blocks from a project building and five blocks from Obama's house. When I was 12 years old, before I knew who Obama was, I'm pretty sure I ran through his backyard from the police. I think so. It might've been his neighbor. You can't even get close now. There are snipers for, like, a mile.
I want someone to be forced to understand the position of the people in Chicago. Our situation is very often trivialized and sensationalized and turned into a headline and all you see is the number of deaths in Chicago this weekend or you hear Donald Trump talking about, 'Well, look at Chicago,' every time he's got his hand in someone's pocket. What we're missing is that this is engineered. The situation in Chicago is not just 'black rage.' This is an engineered situation where you have a city that was constructed through racism and to be as segregated as it is today. Everything was redlined. You couldn't get into a white neighborhood if you were black. They built the projects in all-black neighborhoods. They sold us bogus loans, and took [homeownership] out from underneath us, and left us impoverished. . . . They tore down the projects after they created these hotbeds of poverty . . . . Everything has been taken. Redlining removed the possibility for investment in the black community. Even today when I look into the possibility of buying property in the black community on the south side and invest in the south side—you're not getting a return because there's no investment opportunity on the south side. It's been built this way. And when you take everything out of a community, what do you expect? What do you expect to see when you create a toxic situation and people grow up like that?Listening to Mensa articulate Chicago's deep-seated problems was impressive. He fluently linked the sins of the city's past to the plague of our present. And he managed to do it on a Comedy Central show, which made it all the more a coup.