Oprah: I wish I was on your friend list! But let's continue: Who loves you?
Jay-Z: Everyone loves me, and I love everyone! [Laughs]
Oprah: I know you're joking when you say that, but it's true. Everybody loves you. Everybody also says how smart you are.
Jay-Z: That's crazy.
Oprah: You don't think you're smart?
Jay-Z: I'm a thinker. I figure things out. I don't have a high level of education, but I'm practical—and I have good instincts.
Oprah: Are you a good businessman?
Jay-Z: Yes, because when I promise something, I deliver it—and I expect the same from others.
Oprah: That's great. Now let's move on to another topic: your support of Barack Obama during his campaign. Did you believe he would become president?
Jay-Z: At a certain point, yes. Before he announced he was running, I met him and we had dinner. I was like, "Man, this guy is special." Certain people just glow. I also know Bill Clinton. But I was willing to put that friendship at risk to support Obama, because Obama represents hope around the world. I would rather lose on the side of hope than win on the side of the favorite.
Oprah: Did you lose the Clintons' friendship?
Jay-Z: No. Bill understood. We're cool.
Oprah: You were there during Obama's inauguration. What did you feel?
Jay-Z: Euphoria. At one point, this white lady was in the hotel elevator with me and my friend Ty Ty, and she turned to Ty Ty and fixed his tie. It was such a small thing, but everyone had this feeling of—
Oprah: Connection. On another day, she might have been scared of Ty Ty.
Jay-Z: Exactly. There was a feeling of hope.
Oprah: Did Obama's victory change the way black men are perceived?
Jay-Z: Yes. It also changed the way the world sees America. America is supposed to be the land of the free and home of the brave, so how is it possible to have 43 presidents of the same background?
Oprah: Was there a shift in the rap community?
Jay-Z: The election of Barack Obama sent a strong message. Afterward I said, "The day that Barack Obama became president, the gangsta became less relevant." I meant that in a positive way. I meant that we grew up without accountants and lawyers as role models, but now we see something different. There's something else for us to aspire to.
We Hear You!