As the rapper’s interview with the Guardian notes, the book reveals how, in a bold rejection of the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach, Jackson decided to start a public feud with Winfrey because she made it plain that she wouldn’t be inviting him to appear on her talk show. The rejection was a particular blow given Jackson’s grandmother’s fondness for the show.
“She was completely against everything that was in my music,” Jackson says of Winfrey’s disdain for his lyrics about women and violence. “So she ain’t never going to have me on that show. I’m never going to reach that platform, which is confirmation of you being a huge success. So I just said: OK, if we can’t be friends, then at least let’s be enemies.”
And so he chose to provoke the star by going on the offensive, dismissing her fanbase as old and white and even naming his dog, a female, Oprah.
Despite this, Jackson tells the Guardian that “later we did” become friends, though last December he hit out at Winfrey and accused her of only “going after black men” like Russell Simmons in the #MeToo movement. He also acknowledges that his lyrics are “misogynistic,” but asserts his artistic right to tell his story, his way.
“They are misogynistic, but the world is not under the same circumstances,” he responds when asked about his work. “Are you going to tell a painter what to paint? I’m an artist. Why am I limited to what you feel should be said? In film and television, they will show art imitates life. Are you not aware of those situations taking place?
“[Winfrey] never asked me the question in the way you did,” he continues, growing prickly at the line of questioning. “The truth is, all things come from your experience. Like, I got shot nine times and I wrote music about it. Everyone writes something that can connect in a big way based on a painful moment, so you’re saying we’re not supposed to articulate or write it the way we experienced?”
Jackson’s book also details his frosty relationship with his 23-year-old son, Marquise Jackson.
“I’ve already tried so long with him,” he tells the newspaper. “That sense of entitlement is scariest when it’s someone you love. He still manages to feel deprived when he’s had everything. You love the person, he’s your child, and he looks at you as if you’re the enemy. And, after a while, you go: this is not a kid, it’s a grown man we’re talking about.”