West Coast hip-hop artist Macklemore’s music sidekick Ryan Lewis has stepped forward to speak out on the rapper’s now-infamous costume controversy from last week.
Following Macklemore’s extensive apology, Lewis said fans should realize he would never dehumanize anyone.
“Anybody who knows Ben knows the human being that he is. I think one of the key things, reading his statement, that I think is true, is that our music speaks for itself and the organizations that we’ve gotten behind throughout the last three to four years speak for themselves. … I think the entire thing was a pretty massive misunderstanding.” (MTV)
Despite the widespread negative coverage, Mack said the media had misreported his intentions.
“Family, friends and fans alike who know me well, know that I’m absolutely not the person described in certain headlines today. There is no worse feeling than being misunderstood, especially when people are hurt or offended… I thought it would be fun to dress up in a disguise and go incognito to the event, so that I could walk around unnoticed and surprise the crowd with a short performance. I picked up a bunch of fake mustaches and beards and grabbed a left over wig from our recent trip to Japan… As it turns out the fake noses they sell at the costume store are usually big (my nose didn’t fit most of them). So I ended up with a big witch nose. I went with a black beard, because that’s the furthest color from my natural hair. Disguise was the intention. I personally thought I looked very ambiguous in terms of any “type” of person. Some people there thought I looked like Ringo, some Abe Lincoln. If anything I thought I looked like Humpty Hump with a bowl cut.” (Statement)
The Seattle hip-hop artist also denied trying to draw any intentional connections to the Jewish community.
“I’ve always loved dressing up and have been doing so my entire career. The character I dressed up as on Friday had no intended cultural identity or background. I wasn’t attempting to mimic any culture, nor resemble one. A ‘Jewish stereotype’ never crossed my mind… it was surprising and disappointing that the images of a disguise were sensationalized leading to the immediate assertion that my costume was anti-Semetic. I acknowledge how the costume could, within a context of stereotyping, be ascribed to a Jewish caricature. I am here to say that it was absolutely not my intention, and unfortunately at the time I did not foresee the costume to be viewed in such regard. I’m saddened that this story, or any of my choices, would lead to any form of negativity.” (Statement)
Details of Mack’s on-stage antics and the immediate backlash surfaced online over the past few days.
During his set with longtime producing partner Ryan Lewis at the event–the opening of the “Spectacle: The Music Video” exhibit at Seattle’s EMP Museum–Macklemore wore a wig, a fake beard, and a prosthetic nose. Afterward, some people took to Twitter to question the disguise, which was described by the Daily Dot as “some kind of Jewish caricature, prosthetic schnoz included.” (Us Magazine)