So, after an absolute social-media firestorm about his costume at last Friday’s surprise performance at EMP, Macklemore has issued a public statement on his website. It’s fairly long, and in it the rapper tries to explain both how he ended up in the getup many (in Twitter speak that means thousands) are saying was an anti-Semitic outift.
“On Friday night we had a surprise show at the EMP Museum in Seattle,” the statement reads in part. “Earlier in the day I thought it would be fun to dress up in a disguise and go incognito to the event, so that I could walk around unnoticed and surprise the crowd with a short performance. I picked up a bunch of fake mustaches and beards and grabbed a left over wig from our recent trip to Japan.
“As it turns out the fake noses they sell at the costume store are usually big (my nose didn’t fit most of them). So I ended up with a big witch nose. I went with a black beard, because that’s the furthest color from my natural hair. Disguise was the intention. I personally thought I looked very ambiguous in terms of any ‘type’ of person. Some people there thought I looked like Ringo, some Abe Lincoln … I wasn’t attempting to mimic any culture, nor resemble one. A ‘Jewish stereotype’ never crossed my mind.”
As for the fallout, he struck a somewhat defensive but ultimately conciliatory tone:
“My intention was to dress up and surprise the people at the show with a random costume and nothing more,” he went on. “Thus, it was surprising and disappointing that the images of a disguise were sensationalized leading to the immediate assertion that my costume was anti-Semetic. [sic] I acknowledge how the costume could, within a context of stereotyping, be ascribed to a Jewish caricature. I am here to say that it was absolutely not my intention, and unfortunately at the time I did not foresee the costume to be viewed in such regard. I’m saddened that this story, or any of my choices, would lead to any form of negativity.
“I will let my body of work and the causes for which I’ve supported speak for themselves. I hope that anyone who may question my intent take a few moments to discover the human and artist that I strive to be.”
And ultimately he went with the now very familiar crisis-management axiom, “I truly apologize to anybody that I may have offended.”
Judging from some of the venom on Twitter, including people referring to the outfit as “Nazi-inspired,” this is unlikely to pacify the crowd that took the stunt as an intentional display of racism.