Rapper Turned Activist: Inside 50 Cent’s War Against Double Standards

Rapper Turned Activist: Inside 50 Cent’s War Against Double Standards

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is one of the best-selling rappers of all time, known for hit songs like “In Da Club” and “Candy Shop.” But in recent years, he has transitioned into a new role – that of an outspoken activist fighting against racial double standards in the music industry and beyond.

From calling out hypocrisy on social media to producing documentaries highlighting injustice, 50 Cent has emerged as a prominent voice challenging the status quo. His transformation shows how artists can leverage their platform to promote meaningful social change.

Early Life and Rise to Fame

50 Cent was born in 1975 in Queens, New York. He grew up in a rough neighborhood and was dealing drugs by age 12.

In 2000, he was shot nine times and survived the attempted assassination, which left him hospitalized for two months.

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The shooting increased his fame in the underground rap scene. He began recording mixtapes that drew attention from major labels. In 2002, he signed with Shady Records/Aftermath Entertainment and released his multi-platinum debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’.

The album was a commercial success thanks to hits like “In Da Club” and “P.I.M.P.” 50 Cent became the top-selling hip hop artist of 2003 and helped revive gangsta rap on a mainstream level. He went on to release two more successful albums – The Massacre in 2005 and Curtis in 2007.

Throughout the 2000s, 50 Cent cemented his status as one of hip hop’s biggest stars. But behind the scenes, he was taking notice of troubling issues within the industry, from censorship to lack of diversity at award shows. This fueled his transformation into an outspoken advocate.

Calling Out Racial Bias

One of 50 Cent’s earliest acts of activism came in 2005 when he criticized the MTV Video Music Awards for its lack of Black nominees. No hip hop or R&B artists were nominated for “Video of the Year,” which many saw as racially biased.

50 Cent called MTV out publicly, saying “MTV, you’ve lost your credibility as far as representing the hip-hop and R&B community.” His comments highlighted the need for more diversity and inclusion at mainstream award shows and events.

In the years since, 50 Cent has continued pointing out double standards between genres. He’s called out the Grammys for snubbing rap and questioned why rappers face harsher censorship than rock artists using similar language.

Through social media, he’s also highlighted examples of racial profiling and police brutality. In one instance, he shared bodycam footage showing an officer drawing his gun on a young Black man for a minor traffic violation. 50 Cent questioned why non-violent white offenders don’t face the same treatment.

Fighting Censorship Through Documentaries

Beyond calling out bias, 50 Cent has used his production company G-Unit Film & Television to directly address issues of censorship and racial injustice. In 2017, he executive produced the Starz documentary 50 Cent: The Massacre, which explored the controversy around his album of the same name.

The Massacre was heavily censored upon release due to its graphic content. But 50 Cent used the documentary to argue censorship disproportionately impacts hip hop and limits artistic freedom. It featured interviews with music industry figures and examined the double standard that allows more explicit lyrics in rock.

In 2020, 50 Cent produced another Starz documentary titled Black Mafia Family, about two brothers who built one of the most lucrative drug empires in American history. But the project faced resistance from censors who objected to its depiction of violence and crime.

50 Cent used this as an opportunity to start a discussion around why some stories can be told while others are suppressed. He argued for allowing artists more freedom in addressing challenging topics through their work. Both documentaries aimed to challenge preconceived notions and racial biases.

Fighting for George Floyd and BLM

When protests erupted nationwide following the police killing of George Floyd in 2020, 50 Cent voiced his support for the Black Lives Matter movement. He shared messages of solidarity and donated $100,000 to improve relations between police and the communities they serve.

50 Cent also used his platform to amplify the voices of Black activists and thought leaders. He interviewed lawyer Benjamin Crump, who represented Floyd’s family, to discuss police reform efforts. And he promoted a Change.org petition calling for charges against the officers involved in Floyd’s death.

Through charitable donations and informative social media posts, 50 Cent demonstrated how celebrities can responsibly support racial justice causes. His actions showed hip hop artists don’t have to shy away from activism or “politics” to enact change.

Ongoing Impact and Future Plans

In the years since emerging as an outspoken activist, 50 Cent has remained dedicated to using his influence to challenge double standards and fight for social justice. He continues calling out awards shows for snubbing hip hop and using his documentaries to address censorship and racial issues.

Looking ahead, 50 Cent plans to executive produce more projects through G-Unit Film & Television that shine a light on important topics. He wants to tell stories that have been suppressed or presented incorrectly to mainstream audiences.

The rapper has also said he may get more politically involved, potentially using his platform to endorse candidates supporting his goals around criminal justice reform, police accountability and racial equity.

Through his transition from artist to activist, 50 Cent demonstrates how those in positions of power can leverage their fame to promote positive change. His ongoing war against double standards and promotion of underrepresented voices will likely continue inspiring new generations of socially conscious rappers.

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