Pittsburgh-based rapper says he was racially profiled in La Crosse

Activist and rapper Jasiri X says Radisson hotel shuttle driver racially profiled him at La Crosse Regional Airport

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – A Pittsburgh-based rapper said he was racially profiled while on a trip to La Crosse. Jasiri X said it happened Friday outside the La Crosse Airport when he was trying to get a ride to his hotel.

People might know him for his music, but rapper Jasiri X traveled to La Crosse for a different purpose. Jasiri X told News 8 Now he tried to board a Radisson hotel shuttle where the driver greeted him with anything but a welcome.

“She said, ‘Are you staying at the Radisson?’” said Jasiri X, referring to his conversation with the Radisson shuttle driver.

He said the driver asked him several questions before allowing him to get on the shuttle.

“…got her telephone and called the hotel,” he said.

“I didn’t say anything. I just put myself in the back.”

The next moment is what left Jasiri X asking questions himself.

“A white gentleman comes to the passenger door and says, ‘Hey, can I get a ride downtown?’ She says, ‘Sure, hop in,’” he said.

The driver allowed this man to get on the shuttle without a phone call to the Radisson and no questions asked.

“He wasn’t even staying at the hotel,” Jasiri X said. “That’s when I decided to make the video.”


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The video Jasiri X posted to social media describing this experience received a lot of support.

“There were so many comments on my video saying you need to report this,” he said.

The purpose for his visit to La Crosse in the first place came at the La Crosse Center. The White Privilege Symposium where he was a keynote speaker about racial issues in communities across the country.

He said the word “privilege” is not a word people should fear.

“It doesn’t mean that you didn’t struggle,” Jasiri X said. “It doesn’t mean that you’re not accomplished or what you accomplished was tainted. It’s just this is the society that we’re working in.”

He said it starts a conversation. A dialogue that he hopes will save another person of color from another experience like this.

“It left me wanting to do more work,” he said. “Understanding this is why we do the work.”

A man, known for his music, who wants the words he raps to be the foundation for change.

Jasiri X said Friday’s incident was not an indictment on the community as a whole. He said a manager at the Radisson gave him a handwritten apology. News 8 Now did try to contact the Radisson but did not hear back.