Barack Obama slammed pop culture on Tuesday for foisting bad values on young men.
Speaking at the “MBK Rising! My Brother’s Keeper Alliance” Summit in Oakland, Calif., the former president explained how he felt about current-day culture.
“Let’s face it: A lot of hip-hop and rap music is built around me showing how I got more money than you, I can disrespect you and you can’t do nothing about it, I’m going to talk about you and punk you,’” Obama said during the event’s Q&A session (via the Washington Post). “Ironically, that actually shows the vulnerability that you feel!”
“We tend to rise to the expectations that are set for us,” the 57-year-old continued. “If a young boy is taught early on, ‘You are going to be kind to people, not bully people,’ that will have an impact. If you say, ‘You treat young women with respect. They are not objects. They are humans with the same aspirations and desires, and they are just as worthy of respect as you are,’ that has an impact.
“We’ve got to set that tone early in life,” he noted.
Earlier in the discussion, Obama — who was joined on-stage by NBA star Steph Curry — pointed out to the room full of teenagers that, “If you are really confident about your financial situation, you probably are not going to be wearing an eight-pound chain around your neck because you know, ‘I got bank. I don’t have to show you how much I’ve got because I feel good.'”
He added: “If you are very confident about your sexuality, you don’t have to have eight women around you twerking … because [you know], ‘I’ve got one woman, who I am very happy with. And she’s a strong woman.’”
Obama was in attendance for the two-day summit, which marked the five year anniversary since the former president launched “My Brother’s Keeper” — an initiative that aims to “address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.”