+ Watch Jay Z’s “99 Problems”.
Below is our list of nine present-day problems Jay Z would have included in his song if he wrote it today.
+ Guns Are Out of Control
That is, gun control is a major issue. We’ve got anti-gun anthems (thanks, Snoop Lion!), but it is pretty clear America has a pretty big gun problem right now. In fact, with the events in Newtown, Connecticut, and Aurora, Colorado, it seems the issue is only getting worse. We’d love to hear the rapper’s take on why everyone – our youth, especially – should give up guns for something better.
+ The Student Loan Debt is Crushing
We all know education is great, right? That’s pretty much understood. What’s not cool, however, is how much it costs to get a college education in the United States right now. While they are richer than ever before and can probably send Blue Ivy to whatever schools she wants to go to, Mama and Papa Carter might be bummed to hear that the average American student is graduating with tens of thousands of student loan debt. Student loan debt might make great Beyonce parody material, but in reality, it ain’t that funny.
+ Colleges Are Hot Spots for Sexual Assault
College is where you’re supposed to get a kick-ass education, make awesome friends, and figure out what you want to do with your life. It’s not supposed to be a place where 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted. The numbers are sickening, and President Obama recently announced initiatives to combat this problem. Thankfully there are organizations like RAINN, Know Your IX, and NO MORE to help survivors in the meantime.
+ Racism And Bias Are Still Too Relevant
A lot of what Jay’s original song touched upon was the racism he experienced living in the world as a black man. Lyrics included,
“And I heard “Son do you know why I’m stopping you for?’
Cause I’m young and I’m black and my hat’s real low
Do I look like a mind reader sir, I don’t know
Am I under arrest or should I guess some mo?
‘Well you was doing fifty five in a fifty four’
“License and registration and step out of the car”
‘Are you carrying a weapon on you I know a lot of you are’
+ Equal Pay Isn’t Equal Yet
True fact: Beyonce is the major breadwinner in the Carter-Knowles household, but unfortunately that is not the case for most American families. Men and women have been working the same jobs for years now, but it seems like the wage gap hasn’t caught up yet. In fact, women are still only paid 77 cents to every dollar a man makes! Even President Obama knows that this is crazy.
+ Sexism is Still Around
Speaking of the patriarchy, sexism is still a huge problem in 2014. Just last week Hillary Clinton’s potential presidential run was called into question when reporters found out Chelsea Clinton was pregnant. You might think that’s a reasonable question, but consider that Mitt Romney had several grandchildren who were born during his candidacy, and not one reporter questioned his campaign. Don’t think the double standard is still in play? If the past 10 years have taught Jay Z anything, it’s that women are worthy of some serious respect. As the husband to the most influential person in the world, and a father to the most adorable girl there ever was, we have a feeling Jay Z is all about that male feminist ally life.
+ Humans Are Still Being Bought and Sold
“12 Years A Slave” was the undisputed hit at this year’s Academy Awards, but take away the movie magic and we’ve still got a global problem with modern-day slavery. In some places, some mothers are even selling their daughters’ virginities for $500. With an estimated 12 to 27 million people enslaved around the world, human trafficking is a problem that needs a celebrity like Jay Z to shine a light on. Thankfully, we’ve got people like Somaly Mam who are fighting for the cause.
+ Homelessness is a HUGE Problem
Homelessness is a problem no matter which way you look at it, but it’s especially troubling when you consider that 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. We’re grateful that celebs like Neil Patrick Harris and Cyndi Lauper are using their star power to get people into secure housing, but we know the cause could use some of the rapper’s spotlight too.
+ People Are Struggling With Body Image
Given the fact that Beyoncé just announced her “What Is Pretty?” digital campaign, we know this is one issue that the rapper would definitely get behind. So many girls and boys are suffering from poor self-esteem and a negative opinion of their bodies. Even someone as awesome as his wife isn’t flawless, so we’d love to hear Jay Z’s take on this troubling problem, and how he plans on supporting Blue Ivy during those awkward teenage years.
Photo: (Def Jam Records)
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