During a recent game at the Barclays Center, Jay Z sported a Five Percent Nation medallion, sparking outrage and general confusion about whether reverse racism is a thing (spoiler: it definitely isn't). The impractically-sized necklace is a symbol for the group, which was founded in 1963 by Clarence 13 X, when he broke from the Nation Of Islam.
Although there are no direct comments about white people in the tenets of Five Percent Nation, their public perception is certainly affiliated with not really loving white folks or, as Michael Muhammad Knight explained in an essay for Vice, "The first lesson I learned from the Five Percent was simple: F--k white people. Seriously. White people are devils."
As NPR explained in a 2006 article on the group, the founding concept is that "Ten percent of the people of the world know the truth of existence, and those elites opt to keep 85 percent of the world in ignorance and under their controlling thumb." Other essential ideas include the belief that "black people are the original people of the planet Earth" and "the fathers and mothers of civilization."
This is not the first time Jay Z has worn the eight-pointed star with the number seven in the middle. The Christian Post reports that he wore the symbol while promoting "Magna Carta Holy Grail." It has also been noted that the phrase "Peace God" in "Run This Town" is likely a nod to Five Percenters.
According to the Post, when asked whether the symbol had meaning for him, Jay Z said, "A little bit." So, this is obviously a dogmatic commitment deserving of controversy. He is not, however, officially affiliated with the group. “Jay Z is not an active member — no one has vouched for him,” Saladin Allah, a representative of the group said to The Post. “It was always understood that you don’t wear the regalia if you don’t totally subscribe to the life.”
Additionally, for people who know anything about basketball: apparently Carmelo Anthony also thinks white folks are devils (or at least has controversial taste in jewelry).
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post stated that Jay Z was at a Knicks game.
We’re basically your best friend… with better taste. Learn more