Melbourne MC Pez has admitted he was “a bit offended” by fellow rapper and close friend 360‘s recent comments on ABC’s television program Q&A last Monday, during which he suggested that “racist bigots” in Australia have led him to identify the country’s flag with racism.
“It’s hard to watch one of your closest friends go through shit like that,” writes Pez. “I feel for him coz I know he didn’t mean it like that, but I can also understand why so many people were offended. To be honest, even I got a bit offended.”
UPDATE 24/10/14 12:10pm: Pez has since edited the Facebook post to remove the line, “To be honest, even I got a bit offended.”
Pez, whose real name is Perry Chapman, says during his days at a multicultural school he “copped shit for being Australian” and said to be “a ‘skip’ was considered corny and lame”. He also writes that many Australian hip hop artists, whatever their ancestry, have also struggled with breaking through stereotypes to “make it acceptable to actually just be yourself and rap in your own accent”.
“So it gets tiring when you’re constantly being told how racist you are and how racist your country is – all because of a small percentage of people who behave a certain way,” he writes. “Particularly when those small percentages exist in all cultures, but if you were to say that about another race or religion it would probably be considered ‘Hate’ speech.”
During Monday night’s Q&A program, 360 commented that “there’s so many racist bigots in this country and they’re everywhere” adding that he now identifies the Australian flag with racism. The reactions to the comment were mixed, but many took to social media to voice their offence.
“For you to say the Australian flag is racist because of the act of a small minority (one group of guys yelling at a taxi driver) makes you the bigot,” read one such Facebook comment.
Sixty has since defended his anti-racism stance, after receiving negative comments. “Unfortunately a select number of bigots have tarnished the Australian flag for me,” he tweeted. “If you are not racist then you have nothing to be offended about.”
Pez and 360 have been long-time friends and collaborators. They’ve worked together as part of a duo, Forthwrite, notably contributing to the track The Club Song on M-Phazes‘ 2010 album Good Gracious. 360 also featured on Pez’s hit 2008 single, The Festival Song and just this year Pez was announced as one of the guests on sixty’s Utopia Tour.
Still, all in all, Pez is appealing for compassion. “Anyway, at the end of the day it’s up to us to all get along.. I guess you can either fixate on the negatives and create more of that shit, or try and show some compassion to your fellow man.”
Read Pez’s full statement and watch a section of 360’s Q&A appearance below.
Watch: Australian flag represents racism: 360