Why You Should Care About Jay-Z’s Interview with Dean Baquet

With every scandal in the media today, it is important to reaffirm our faith in humanity, especially in high-up celebrities who we have seen tarnished in the past month by their mistakes. Last week, Jay-Z sat down with New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet and shared his thoughtful honesty on race, his marriage, and how therapy has helped him in his journey as an artist and as a man of color. This honesty, which is so rarely seen nowadays, makes viewers like me take a good look at ourselves and wonder if we’re “living it right” (phrase credit to John Mayer), which is an important question to internalize from time to time.

The thirty-five minute interview has you glued from the start. I found myself pausing it to ponder on some notable conversations. Jay-Z and Mr. Baquet speak in a very calm, relaxed tone while touching on important topics, beginning with the O.J. Simpson trial.

In regards to his song “The Story of O.J.” from his album 4:44, Jay-Z said, “The goal is not to be successful and famous. That's not the goal. The goal is, if you have a specific God-given ability, is to live your life out through that. One. And two, we have a responsibility to push the conversation forward until we're all equal. Till we're all equal in this place. Because until everyone's free, no one's free, and that's just a fact,” and it relates to the long-term battle of equality that our country has brought upon itself, the current divided state of our country, and reminds us to not let that “conversation” die. As Jay-Z says, we have to “push the conversation forward” so that change can be seen, and as history has shown us many times, change lives on so long the conversation does not die and the people do not give up.

Following this, the most intriguing thing to me was that Jay-Z did not put up any sort of front in order to maintain an image that so many celebrities brand themselves with. He spoke freely and thoughtfully on each topic, and it was obvious he had grown from a point of upholding any sort of facade.

Jay talks about his journey with therapy by saying, “I grew so much from the experience. But I think the most important thing I got is that everything is connected. Every emotion is connected and it comes from somewhere. And just being aware of it. Being aware of it in everyday life puts you at such a ... you're at such an advantage,” and it is a gentle reminder, at least for me, to remember to take care of myself-- to let everything connect. It is important we all take the time out of our lives to connect with ourselves in order for everything else in our lives to connect. It lifts a certain underlying confusion from your mind that you may not even realize is there.

So, if you need some honesty in your life, are craving some inspiration, or need a reminder to take care of yourself, than you should care about this interview. Jay-Z’s thought-provoking honesty will have you doing a much-needed self-evaluation (especially before the New Year).  You can watch (or read) the interview here.