Drake Says Blackface Photo Was Meant to Draw Attention to How Black Actors Are Typecast


Two nights ago, Pusha T showed off some impressive sleuthing skills and unleashed a diss track about his nemesis Drake, revealing that the Canadian rapper has allegedly fathered a son. The shots were damning. The internet was broken. The memes were good. For the song’s cover art, Pusha used an old photo of Drake appearing in blackface.

Drake is something of an impulsive guy when it comes to beefs. In last week’s episode of The Real Petty Adult Men of Rap, Drake went after Pusha T and Kanye West in a diss track called “Duppy Freestyle;” Pusha referenced Drake on the track “Infrared” (from Pusha’s latest album Daytona); and Drake released a song titled “I’m Upset,” presumably to distract everyone from Pusha’s antics. (The song is about women out to get Drake’s money.) Which is all to say that Drake hasn’t “clapped back” or anything like that on an actual record in response to Pusha’s truth bombs—but he has offered an explanation of how that blackface photo (which was previously thought to be done for a clothing brand) came to be.

“I know everyone is enjoying the circus but I want to clarify this image in question,” Drake wrote in an Instagram story. “This was not from a clothing brand shoot or my music career. This picture is from 2007, a time in my lie where I was an actor and I was working on a project that was about young black actors struggling to get roles, being stereotyped and type cast. The photos represented how African Americans were once wrongfully portrayed in entertainment.”

That sounds plausible, especially if it was 2007, although Drake should probably expand on this thought process further, for those still curious about why he would dare to take the chance of appearing in blackface. Describing onlookers as people who are “enjoying the circus” is how you know Drake is still Drake, and he wants you to know how salty he is about all of this.

UPDATE [1 p.m., May 31]: Pusha T has responded to Drake in record-breaking time, as Pitchfork reports. On an episode of the LA radio show Big Boys’ Neighborhood, Pusha said: “That doesn’t change my view at all… You are silent on all black issues, Drake…. You don’t stand for nothing, you don’t say nothing about nothing.” He added, “You have all the platform in the world. You were so passionate back then? No you weren’t. That’s number one. That’s what I know.” It’s only a matter of time before out next installment in this ongoing, constantly evolving beef.

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