This past weekend, President Barack Obama and Grammy Award winning artist Macklemore sat down to discuss opioid addiction in the U.S. If you're not a fan of the Indie leaning and socially conscious rapper, you're probably thinking, "of course Macklemore's preaching about another problem." Now, the man is easy to hate because of his outspoken tendencies towards social issues, particularly systematic racism in the form of white privilege and addiction in the form of his own lifelong bout. While Macklemore's efforts are usually viewed as noble but not exactly the right move, (Im looking at you Mac, for that post-Grammy, Kendrick apology on Instagram), this time Macklemore's effort isn't even slightly cringe-worthy.
The weekly address opens with President Obama introducing both Macklemore and the topic of addiction. Immediately, the seriousness of the address tone is set and all critiques of Macklemore should be thrown out of the window. After the two introduce themselves, President Obama stated the startling figures as to how opioid addiction is affecting our nation. Since 2000, opioid addictions have tripled, and President Obama also stated that a new study released this month found that, "44 percent of Americans know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers." To personalize the message, Macklemore went on to talk about his own struggle as well as losing his friend Kevin, who inspired the track "Kevin" off his recent album, This Unruly Mess Ive Made. Throughout the video, President Obama and Macklemore discuss the measures that are currently and will continue to be taken, to confront this widespread issue. Towards the end of the address its also revealed that President Obama and Macklemore had an extensive discussion about opioid addiction, which will be released on MTV some time during this summer.
Addiction in the U.S. is a significant issue worth addressing. Having Macklemore as one of the key faces of this new initiative for the Obama administration is notable, because while it may turn off some people from watching the video, it will definitely draw a large amount of viewers that otherwise wouldnt have watched if Obama had flown solo on this venture. It is worth noting that Macklemore is still one of the safe hip-hop options for listeners, particularly those who identity as white, and his identity as a white hip-hop artist should still be taken into account with this address. While it may seem a bit patronizing to have Macklemore as the chosen pop-culture representative of a national anti-drug initiative, this move can help to change the stigma against hip-hop as a genre that solely promotes drug usage and violence, and the importance of creating the resources for U.S. citizens that desire to fight the disease known as opioid addiction.