Controversy is not only the name of Willie D’s 1989 debut solo album, it’s the perfect word to describe his entire career. From his work as a member of the Geto Boys to his solo career Willie D has never been one to hold his tongue. This is a man who has called out the Ku Klux Klan, Rodney King fresh after the L.A. Riots, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, aka, the Grammys.
Willie D has no problem telling you what’s on his mind and his new single “Coon” does just that. Coon takes aim at black celebrities who have made disparaging comments about black people on public forums in recent years. Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith, Fox News commentator Stacey Dash, CNN news anchor Don Lemon, and actress Raven-Symone all come under fire by the Gangsta of Love.
The Real Hip-Hop had the pleasure of speaking to Willie D about his new single, Coon, why he’s anti-welfare, and about the possibilities of a new Geto Boys album.
TRHH: Why was it important for you to call out so many coons?
Willie D: It was important because I was tired of the cooning, man. I was tired of the coons running their traps. The rhetoric that the coons spew is very dangerous. Constantly hearing people getting on television and disparaging the black community is dangerous, especially when the person that’s disparaging the community is black. They often get passes for disparaging the black community and it goes under the guise of “they’re just speaking their mind,” or “thinking outside of the box,” or “they’re being independent minded,” and all that type of stuff. These are code words for, “these motherfuckers are really sell outs,” but they’re gonna get a pass because of their skin color.
TRHH: A couple of years ago Bill Cosby was very vocal about what he believes black youth should do and how they should act. Do you think Bill falls under that coon title?
Willie D: Absolutely not. Bill Cosby is not a coon. One of the definitions of a coon is a person whose criticism of the black community outweighs their contribution. Bill Cosby’s contribution to the black community far outweighs his criticism. He is just the old guy who doesn’t really have a filter like, “I’m old, I’ll say what the fuck I wanna say, this is how I feel, fuck it!” He just got caught up in that part of it –chastising black people to the extent that he came off as condescending. He’s not a coon by no stretch of the imagination.
Stacey Dash is a coon. Charles Barkley is a coon. Stephen A. Smith is a coon. Raven-Symone is a coon. Don Lemon is a coon. They do nothing for the black community but criticize. They’re propped up as these successful black individuals and they give us a sense of being successful, because we’re looking at people that look like us and we’re saying they made it and they represent us. That’s good and that’s why we don’t want them to be attacked because we see these people with these huge platforms and we’re so desperate for any type of representation on television, in Hollywood, and entertainment that we’ll take anything.
We’ll take a sellout, we’ll take a traitor. We’ll say, “At least he’s black.” When you have someone who belongs to your own demographic and they become a traitor that’s even worse than your known enemies. That’s why in many countries traitors are put to death because that’s the worst form of betrayal. Black people just haven’t gotten the memo. We wanna be friendly and nice to everybody. We wanna make peace all the time while people are at war with us. This is why we can’t get anything done because we’re too fuckin’ friendly. We’re friendly with everybody else but when it comes to us we got a problem. We’re quick to criticize black poor people and point out what’s wrong with them.
When it comes to white poor people the coons have a problem pointing out the wrongs, ills, and woes of any other community other than their own. When issues involving people that are white come up all of the people that I mentioned in the song Coon are silent. They have nothing to say and if they do speak on it they’re very humble and they are forgiving. They are very forgiving of the white people, but when somebody black does something wrong they’re like, “Oh hell, here we go again! They’re making us look bad! This is what I mean!” Remember when Stephen A. Smith made the comment to Skip Bayless about the number of black athletes who are involved in domestic abuse cases?
TRHH: I do not because I avoid Stephen A. Smith at all cost [laughs].
Willie D: Okay, well there it is then. That’s a good move to have. Here’s the deal, he made a comment after the Ray Rice incident that black athletes are just violent and commit abuse over and over. He said, “There’s a huge problem in the black community with domestic abuse and brothers need to get it together! You don’t see white guys out here doing this. Blacks in the NFL account for 85% of all domestic abuses cases.” It took the white guy Skip Bayless to say, “You know that’s because there are a lot more black guys in the NFL than white guys and that would account for the disparity.” He said, “Well I’m just saying it’s a problem and it needs to be fixed!”
When black men do something wrong they become the poster child for whatever wrong that has been perpetrated. When Chris Brown was accused of domestic abuse he became the poster child. Ray Rice became the poster child for domestic abuse. Nobody said anything about Mel Gibson but when white guys do things it happens and you put it in the past. When black males do something it’s the worst thing on the earth and they become the poster child for whatever that wrong is.
They have a different standard for us and everybody else. People are very, very unforgiving of any type of wrong that black males may do. When a black boy becomes aggressive in school and does something wrong they wanna put him on some medicine. They wanna put him in an alternative school. If he goes up and tears up a mail box or something they want to put him in prison, give him some type of record, put him on paper and give him probation so they can put him into the system. When a white boy do it it’s “Boys will be boys. Let’s reform him. Let’s put him in a program and help him out and put him on the right track.” But when a black boy do it it’s “Lock that nigger up and throw away the key like the rest of ‘em!”
It’s funny, a lot of white males who work in corporate America have done things when they were young that didn’t end up on their record. They gave them diversion programs, excuse it, or just aren’t as hard on them –they let ‘em make it. A lot of these same people become judges, prosecutors, and law men and act like they’re perfect. It’s like they never smoked any weed before, or they never got drunk and drove before, or they never fell out at a party before. They sit in judgment of others and bring down the hammer. When a black male walks into the court room they’re out to get him and make him pay. “You shouldn’t have done it!” There is absolutely no latitude for forgiveness, there is no moral flexibility whatsoever. When white boys do it, “We gotta save him. He’s redeemable.”
They just indicted a black kid in Houston for fraud. I think the kid is 15-years old and has never been in trouble before, has good parents, a father at home, everything. This is how the case went; the little kid finds a counterfeit $10 bill on the floor in the cafeteria at school. He picks it up and tries to pay for his lunch with the counterfeit bill. The cashier tells him, “You can’t use this, give me real money.” He goes in his pocket, pays, and goes about his business. Two months later he gets a call from the DA saying he’s been charged with counterfeiting. I beg anybody to go out there and find me somebody who is at least 20-years and hasn’t had a counterfeit $5, $10, or $20 bill at some point in their life. Counterfeit money gets passed around every day by unsuspecting customers – every single day. They charged this boy and are trying to fuck his life up behind a $10 counterfeit bill – crazy! But that’s the way they do us. I can guarantee you if that boy had been white it wouldn’t have been no issue. It would have been, “Where’d you find this at? Hmm, okay, that’s strange. Have a nice day!”
TRHH: I don’t remember if it was Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown, it was probably was both of them, but I remember Barkley coming on TV saying the courts made the right decision. I met Charles once, he’s a nice guy. I find him humorous but to come on TV and say “they got it right” when black boys are being shot for no reason is dangerous, man.
Willie D: I met Charles Barkley once too and he ain’t nice, he a asshole.
Willie D: He almost got his ass whooped on that day just because he’s so arrogant. I never wanted to meet him ever in life anyway. A friend of mine introduced me to him and I reluctantly spoke to him and regretted it and kicked myself for speaking to him ever since. The dude is not a good person – he’s a clown. He’s always been an asshole and he’s always been outspoken, but he hasn’t always been a coon. He started cooning when he got on TNT. I think it had something to do with his gambling issues. Maybe they saved him from his gambling problem and because of that they needed his job to be attacking the blacks. “We need you to regurgitate white supremacist talking points. That’s going to be your job, Charles,” and that’s what he does. Every time they do something dirty to black folks and want us to calm down, especially if somebody white does something to black folks, he always takes the side of the oppressor. He always sides with the person who is non-black – always. It’s automatic. That’s his job. He a coon.
TRHH: Do you think Charles Barkley, Stacey Dash, and Stephen A. Smith are out of touch due to having money or the company they keep?
Willie D: No, they know. We wanna think the most of them. We don’t wanna believe that they’re actually accepting money to sell us out! We don’t wanna believe that. We don’t want to believe that these people are actually going in here and cooning for capital – selling us out. We wanna like Stacey Dash, “She pretty, she fine. Oooh I wanna like her!” We wanna like Charles Barkley, “He’s outspoken. He came up out of Leeds, Alabama and made it. He’s charming and goofy, he makes us laugh! He’s funny, I wanna like him!” We wanna like Stephen A. “He’s very articulate, very smart, very good at what he do. He’s a black man who is sitting there and representing us.”
We want to believe Don Lemon is not selling us out. We can’t believe that. We don’t want to think of that because if we do we gotta do something about it. A lot of us don’t wanna turn from CNN. We don’t wanna make that sacrifice. A lot of us don’t wanna turn off ESPN. We don’t wanna turn off TNT. We like our sports more than we love ourselves. We do not wanna turn that shit off. We like the pain. I stopped watchin’ all that shit! It don’t matter to me. If I’m that desperate I can entertain myself. They’re not that important to me. None of it is that important to me.
Until black people start holding these companies accountable that hire these coons, enable these coons, they ain’t gonna do nothing but find another coon to replace ‘em. They gotta stop making these coons feel safe. Stop running up to these coons asking for autographs. Stop taking pictures with these coons. Stop counting these coons as one of our success stories, they’re not. They’re epic failures in the black community. Stop patting them on the back. Stop accepting crumbs. That’s what black people need to do.
White people ain’t gon’ do it because it don’t affect them the way it affect us. If the networks mean well and aren’t racist and not trying to protect white supremacy how come they ain’t got white people on there talking down about the white community every time an issue about the white community come up? How come they don’t have an Asian trashing the Asian community every time an issue about the Asian community comes up? How comes they don’t have Hispanics on TV saying, “We need to put up a wall,” and “We need to stop Mexican’s from coming over the border?” They only do that to the black community.
The black community is the most disenfranchised community because we do not have a code of conduct. We take our money and spend every damn dime we got. As soon as we get our paycheck we spend that money like we got a damn hole in our pocket. We give that money to everybody but black businesses. We give that money to everybody but our own. When we need something from these politicians we can’t get it because the Republicans say, “Why should I give them anything? They aren’t going to vote for me.” The Democrats say, “They’re going to vote for me no matter what so why should I have to sacrifice anything?” We gets nothing.
Every other community goes to the politicians with an agenda and a paycheck and say, “Here you go, this is what we want in return,” and they get it because they have economic power! We would have economic power if we didn’t spend the money. We spend over a trillion dollars a year – we got the money. As soon as we get it we give it away. The money is not circulating in the black community. We don’t have an economic power structure to go in there and demand the things that we want. This is how the government works. You can call it a bribe or whatever you wanna call it.
It’s no coincidence that you have a billionaire like Michael Bloomberg accepting a job that pays $200,000 a year. He don’t even accept the money, he gives it back to the state of New York. He’s letting you know, “I ain’t here for this lil’ crumb ass paycheck. I’m here for these deals Im’ma be making while I’m sitting back here as the mayor of New York City.” By the time Michael Bloomberg leaves office his wealth will have tripled because he’s cut deals while he was in office. That’s what it’s about, cutting deals and getting what you want. We live in a capitalistic society and if you ain’t got no money you ain’t gettin’ nothing done in this country – nothing!
All that shit about helping the poor, you can sit back and wallow in your poorness if you want to. You’re going to be poor for the rest of your life. You gotta get up off your ass and go get it! These people are not here to help you. They don’t give a damn about you, nothing about you at all. They care about them and their agenda. If you can help them with their agenda they’ll do something for you. A vote ain’t enough, you need some money. A vote alone ain’t gonna get it – you need money. Hell, if you got money you ain’t got to vote! Long as they do what you need them to do you ain’t even got to go to the polls. You got business people who don’t even bother going to the polls because they know they’re gonna get what they want anyway. Your money is the ballot. Your bank account, that’s the ballot.
TRHH: I heard you say in an interview that welfare was created to hurt black people. You also have a song called “Welfare Bitches” on the Controversy album. The anti-welfare stance is in line with conservative Republican thinking. Why are you against welfare?
Willie D: ‘Cause welfare creates a ceiling for people. I’m not totally against welfare, I’m against the way welfare was instituted and applied against the black community. For the black community welfare was put in place to cripple the black family. When we had this mass exodus of jobs in the U.S. they said that people need assistance. A lot of black people didn’t have jobs so when they said they’re gonna give you a free check, $100 bucks a month for free, $200, depending on how many kids you got you get a lil’ bit extra, we’re thinking that government loves us and are doing us a favor. They had a catch, get the black man out of the house. You can’t get this check if you got a black man in the house.
They knew when they take the black man out of the household they can control the black woman better and control the kids. They can take the strength out of the house. Get the black man out now he’s on his own. The black man is wandering. He can lay up with a woman if she’s on any kind of government assistance, which many were when this was first instituted. If he ain’t layin’ up with her he probably ain’t layin’ up with nobody. At night after you do what you do and take care of your business you got to get out the house. “Get out, can’t have you around here!” Then they had watch dogs. People snitching and telling, “There’s men in the house!” and then they cut you off. They created this whole environment of black men not being in the home. Then they turned around and blamed the black man for his absence and they actually created it.
Welfare for me should be for people that are in financial transition. You got a job, you lost your job, and you need some help. Okay, we’re going to help you out for this amount of time – we got you. Or supplemental income; you’re working, maintaining a job, and doing the best you can, come down here and get some assistance. I don’t think it should be determined by how many damn kids you have. It should also be for our elderly and our people with special needs. That’s what welfare should be for. For able bodied people that shit should be very temporary.
That’s what I believe that the welfare system should be. It should not be a situation where people are handed a free pass and stroke the check automatically to spend as they see it. That’s what I have a problem with. I grew up for a good portion of my life on welfare. My momma worked, but she also received a supplemental income from welfare. She worked. She had five kids that she raised alone on just above minimum wage. Even with that I was actually embarrassed myself to be on welfare and I swore I’d never be on welfare. But if it were not for that supplemental income, shit, I probably would have died of malnourishment. It was five of us and between paying those bills, trying to get clothes, and having something to eat it was very, very hard.
TRHH: I have a white friend who is a Republican. I asked her one time, “Why are you a Republican?” because I don’t understand why any poor people are Republican. She said, “Because I’m tired of people who don’t work taking my money.” I said, “You realize less than three percent of tax dollars goes toward welfare, right? Your tax dollars goes toward the military. That’s where most of our money goes.” She said, “Well I’m okay with that.” I said, “Why are you okay with that?” She goes, “Don’t you wanna feel safe?”
Willie D: Right, feel safe, not be safe.
TRHH: I would rather my money go toward helping people instead of killing people – that’s just me. The way you just described your mother and your family shows that every person on welfare ain’t a cheat. Every person on welfare ain’t lazy. People just go through hard times. I don’t want to make it a racial thing, but I think that’s the perception, “These black people are just lazy.”
Willie D: The thing about it though is they’ll accept that argument but they won’t accept the fact that more white people are on welfare than black people.
Willie D: These are just people who aren’t free thinkers or people who are just angry and hate people that don’t look like them. They need somebody to blame and they don’t wanna hear the truth. They wanna believe that it’s the black people’s fault. Just like there are black people who want to believe that everything is white people’s fault. Everything ain’t white people’s fault, but I can tell you this, damn near everything is white supremacy’s fault.
This country is built on white supremacy. You can be pro-black without being anti-white. You can be pro-white without being anti-black. White supremacists are anti-black. That’s the person who sees black people doing well and says, “I gotta do something about that.” That’s the person who is a cop and a black person is talking back to them so they shoot him. “I don’t like what he said, I don’t like how he looks, so I’m gonna kill him.” That’s white supremacy in action.
When they fail to indict that cop that blows away somebody and totally violates somebody’s civil rights that’s white supremacy in action. When the all-white jury or the grand jury, which I call the Klan jury, fails to indict in most cases that’s white supremacy in action. That’s white supremacy in action when a 15-year old boy finds a fake $10 bill and tries to use it and the DA charges him with a crime instead of saying, “Kids don’t know any better. I’m not going to ruin this kids’ life.” Instead they say, “Bam! I got another one!” They gotta do something to get him in the system and put him on paper.
TRHH: I had a discussion about this with a friend of mine. We discussed the idea of white fear. Subconsciously they’re looking at it like, “If somebody did to us what we did to them we’d kill the motherfuckers.” They’re afraid of black people rising up and getting revenge or something. We ain’t gon’ do that. We just want a piece of the pie. Most of us are just trying to make it. It’s that deep ingrained fear that we’re gonna get them back so they have to keep us under their thumb to avoid retribution.
Willie D: Yeah, they worried about the wrong shit. That’s the furthest thing from fucking black people’s minds. Black people just wanna live in peace and be able to pursue their dreams without being targeted for failure and denied access. That’s what we want, period! They worried about the wrong shit. They ain’t gotta worry about black folks, God gon’ avenge all the shit they did.
TRHH: Yes sir! The last time you and I spoke was right before the 2012 Presidential Election. Compared to the current Presidential candidates Mitt Romney seemed to be normal. What do you make of the support that Donald Trump is receiving in his run for President?
Willie D: [Laughs] Ain’t that something. That goes to show you how far behind we are and how much further we have to go. We really are going backwards in this country on every level. It’s not just in the music business. It’s in law, medicine, education, politics, and race relations. We’re going backwards on everything. This is the country that is so arrogant that it don’t believe it can fail. Some people believe that we can continue to be the same way and still somehow be better and so-called be great. That ain’t gonna happen.
I hear people say “Make America Great Again” well I’m a descendant of slaves and America ain’t never been great for me. America has never been great to me. I’m a descendant of slaves and I am a product of discrimination daily. I live in a country that practices white supremacy against my race. How can I say that that’s a great country? No, America is not a great country. It might be great for white folks but any black person that thinks America is great is a damn fool.
As far as talking this shit about if you don’t like it go back, go back where, motherfucker? Black people deserve to have everything that this country has to offer. Anything that’s beneficial to anyone, black people should have the first right at it because we built this country. We built the country. Nobody else built the country – we built it. It’s always funny to me when I hear anybody call black people lazy. They say, “Black people don’t want these jobs. Mexican’s want the jobs. The jobs that Mexican’s are getting black people don’t want to work them.” That’s a lie. If you ain’t got no job you’ll take anything and a lot of these jobs ain’t even being offered to black people because they know that they can get Mexican’s to work these jobs and they can half-ass not even pay ‘em sometimes because they’re undocumented.
TRHH: Dr. Ben Carson said Harriet Tubman shouldn’t be on the $20 bill, but on the $2 bill. What’s your take on his statement?
Willie D: Ben Carson is another self-loathing coon. He thinks it’s cool to have Harriet Tubman, a slave abolitionist, demoted to a $2 bill but have Andrew Jackson, a slave owner, remain on the $20 bill. Andrew Jackson don’t need to be on shit! George Washington, none of them racist motherfuckers need to be on no kind of money in the first place. If we were in another country America would still be complaining about them being on the currency. They’d be calling them all kinds of names. Imagine if Hitler was on some money? These dudes are slave owners, man. They ought not to be on money anyway. They shouldn’t be on street signs, no buildings, no airports, and no monuments! These motherfuckers was slave owners! And they’re part of the reasons why we have all these issues we have in America today.
TRHH: A lot of white people see them as our founding fathers – their founding fathers.
Willie D: But what the fuck did they find? That’s what I wanna know. I hear them say “founding fathers” but what did they find?
TRHH: I think in their opinion they saved them from British rule.
Willie D: They saved them from British rule, but what did they find?!!?
TRHH: [Laughs] A new land? They took a land from some people?
Willie D: So they founded that, huh? I don’t know, man. They don’t wanna give it up.
TRHH: Scarface has gone public saying that he won’t ever do another Geto Boys album. Are the Geto Boys officially laid to rest?
Willie D: I can’t tell you, man. I can’t really answer that question. It might be, it might not be. I don’t know. I’ve always enjoyed doing Geto Boys records. I spoke to Scarface this morning and he was talking about getting in the studio. It wasn’t for a Geto Boys project, but still. You never know with Geto Boys. I don’t know. Right now I’m focused on Willie D. I’m doing my thing. If it happens, it happens. If it does happen I can tell you it will be a killer ass album! If it don’t happen I’m pretty satisfied with our catalogue and the legacy that it’ll leave.
TRHH: Will there be a new Willie D album?
Willie D: Yeah, that’s coming. That’s coming big time. That’s coming this year. In fact I get back in the studio at the end of the month and I’ll start putting out some more songs for it. I think Im’ma drop it right when school starts back – like August/September.
Purchase: Willie D – Coon