Don’t expect Lupe Fiasco to pledge allegiance to the flag. The outspoken political rapper recently explained why he won’t stand by the stars and stripes and why his anti-voting stance is not meant to be anti-patriotic. 

The Chicago lyricist simply points to the teachings of his parents who wanted a young Lupe to understand the dangers of following pro-American jingoism without historical context.

“When I was a little kid, actually my whole family – my mother and father – instructed us not to say the pledge of allegiance in school,” he told NPR. “They wanted us to understand fully – fully – not just haphazardly and for the sake of making my teacher happy – they wanted us to understand fully what we were doing at that young age, and what that means, and what America is, and what is your place within that.”

Controversy seems to follow Lupe. The rapper has made headlines for everything from being embroiled in a public Twitter war of words with up-and-coming Chicago rapper Chief Keef to being called out by political comedian D.L. Hughley for saying that he doesn’t plan to vote.

Yet Lupe says his views on voting and on President Barack Obama, in particularly, come from a realistic, sobering place. For him, politics starts at the local level.

“Barack is at a level where he can’t – no matter how much he wants to or how much we want him to – he’s not going to come take out our garbage, so to speak,” Lupe explained. “He can’t be the garbage man and the president. He can’t be the mayor and the alderman. He can’t fill all those roles. So I always push for local, local activity on the political scene. I always preach that you have to be active as a citizen no matter what, and some people [use] just voting as an excuse not to do anything.” —Keith Murphy, CBS Local


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