The media’s shock with the “odd” relationship between Jerry Seinfeld, the comedian and rapper Wale illustrates the common perception that old white men are not friends with young black men. Understanding what is so “odd” about this is another topic for another blog.
What the two men have in common is their innate creativity and drive to create honest art for their audiences. Seinfeld called Wale’s art rich and off the wall, two of the top reasons he was attracted to his music in the first place. Since their first meeting at one of Seinfeld’s shows, Seinfeld has become a spiritual mentor for the young rapper who helps him navigate fame, authenticity, and personal brand management and more.
Newspaper articles note similarities between the two friends even down to their art and how they claim their art is “about nothing,” and their naming of their shows/songs respectively all start with the word “The.” An idea that is way more simple than it is innovative – maybe I should call it simple innovation. Who knows.
Anyway, I argue though that both are actually pulling people in with the notion that their art is about nothing, when it is really about everything within their worldview, especially Wale’s work. To explain further, Seinfeld’s sitcom involves his day-to-day experiences, his problems with his girlfriends, issues that arise between men and women and so on. Viewers also get to see issues that our outside of his worldview through the portrayal of his close friends Elaine, George, and Kramer. Wale’s album(s), on the other hand, tackle issues within his own experiences such as racism, prejudice, burdens within African American relationships, social inequality and so on. For example, Wale’s song entitled “The Pessimist” describes in an eloquently raw manner how African Americans are oppressed economically, socially, and how African Americans oppress themselves when we portray ourselves in the media in ways that affirm stereotypes about African Americans.