Young Money rapper Lil Wayne has been slammed as "ignorant" for claiming he was unaware that racism still existed.
In a candid interview with Undisputed, the She Will hitmaker revealed he has never experienced racial discrimination, although many of his audience members are white. Speaking to Undisputed host Skip Bayless, the 33-year-old rapper said: "I don't want to be bashed, because I don't want to sound like I'm on the wrong – if there is a side, but I thought that was clearly a message that there was no such thing as racism. That's what I thought that was. That was a perfect example."
Expressing his gratitude at having attracted a multi-cultural fanbase, Lil Wayne continued: "When I'm coming out the bottom of the stage at my show... and I open my eyes, and I see everybody. I don't have this type of crowd or that type of crowd. My crowd has always been everybody, thank God."
The Lollipop rapper had told Bayless earlier in their interview, which aired on 13 September: "I have never dealt with racism, and I'm glad I didn't have to. I don't know if it's because of my blessings... but it is my reality. I thought it was over, I still believe it's over."
Many have been shocked by Lil Wayne's dismissive comments towards the issue of race in America.
One tweeted: "Lil Wayne sounded so ignorant and naive in that interview I'm mad they even asked for his opinion," while another said: "Lil Wayne basically said "Well Racism hasn't effected me, so idk what the big deal is. I am blessed and highly favoured."
Watch Lil Wayne's interview on Undisputed:
Another critic weighed in: "Essentially, Lil Wayne said because racism doesn't effect you it no longer exist," while another said: "I normally take people at their word, but there's no way I believe Lil Wayne has never experienced any racism in his entire life." However, one commentator reasoned with Lil Wayne's outlook on racial issues, adding: "Lil Wayne has the right to not believe in racism like Colin Kapernick does to believe in it, we all see things differently."
However, one fan with a good memory unearthed comments Lil Wayne made in 2012 in which he cited race as the reason he was not given courtside seats for an NBA game. The rapper told the Associated Press at the time: "It's the players stepping up [by offering him tickets], but, of course, the players aren't white. I don't want to be sitting there on behalf of you and I'm sitting next to a [person] that's like 'I don't want this [guy] sitting next to me.' [Forget] you ... I'm in Forbes."
Lil Wayne was also asked to address the controversy surrounding NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who has refused to stand for the US national anthem before games. The rapper briefly stated: "I respect the man and his decision. I'm not into it enough to even give an opinion."
Elsewhere in the interview, Lil Wayne addressed the rumours that he was retiring from music. Confirming his plans to continue recording, he said: "The height of my talent, the height of my career – I haven't reached that at all."