"Jesus can't save you. Life starts when the church ends," says rapper Jay-Z in his once chart-topping song Empire State of Mind. This line is just one of many lyrics that has led the 44-year-old Hip-Hop mogul to be accused of blasphemy throughout the years. But now Jay-Z has caught himself in yet another controversy, this time because of the jewelry he was caught sporting last week at a Brooklyn Nets game.
When Jay-Z and his equally famed wife Beyoncé paid a visit to the Barclay's Center last week, onlookers could not help but notice the golden pendant around the rapper's neck. That medallion turned out to be an eight-point star with the number 7 in the middle – a symbol that represents a group commonly known as The Five Percenters.
What do Five Percenters believe?
The NY Post reports that followers of this group have the belief that Black people are the fathers and mothers of civilization, white men are of the devil, the Christian God is nothing more than a ghost and only a small percentage of people truly understand the world.
When Jay-Z was once asked if the group's symbol held any meaning to him, the rapper shrugged and responded, "A little bit."
Michael Muhammad Knight, an author who has written two books on the group explained to the NY Post that, "The rationale is that the black man is God and created the universe, and is physically stronger and intellectually stronger and more righteous naturally." He went on to explain that the white man is considered weak and inferior.
The Five Percent Nation, also known as the Nations of Gods and Earths or the Five Percenters, was founded in 1964 in Harlem by Clarence Smith, who later changed his name to Allah. Smith was a former student of Malcolm X but later disagreed with the Nation of Islam over the nature of God.
Smith rejected the belief of one God and instead believed that all black men had God in them and that black women were "earths" who took on submissive, subordinate roles to their gods.
Although some wonder whether Jay-Z is associated with the group, Saladin Allah, an upstate New York representative of the Five Percenters, told the New York Post that, "Jay Z is not an active member — no one has vouched for him." However, the representative also went on to say, "It was always understood that you don't wear the regalia if you don't totally subscribe to the life."