Black people worldwide within the past few decades have improved collectively by leaps and bounds. From black women in America being the most educated demographic, having the first African-American President, our accomplishments athletically, the end of apartheid, recognition for our contributions to the arts and sciences plus so much more. Black people have been hitting the target in so many fields, and yet it seems that the fruits of our progress are not necessarily always fully reaped.
Maybe it’s because of who we support. We are notorious as a people for not supporting one another as we should, but when we do support it seems as if we don’t support those who are down for the cause.
I’ve probably made some people mad with my opening statements, but let me try to paint the picture with a brush more suitable for illustrating what I mean without individuals trying to crucify the artist.
Let’s look at a few examples of some members of the black community whom we love and support, but who don’t seem to return the favour.
Black people buy this man’s sneakers like if our lives depended on it. People have fought, bullied and killed our own just for a chance for them to have these shoes grace their feet.
Michael Jordan has been known throughout the years to avoid speaking out against the injustices that have been continually committed against black people, and has never shown support for positive black movements. That is, until about a year ago when his motives in relation to the black community were called into question, and persons were threatening to boycott his brand.
Unlike Colin Kaepernick, MJ has never really shown an interest in uplifting his people even with the celebrity status and money that’s influential enough to make a difference. In fact, his intentions were made clear what he thought about black people when he stated: “I make shoes for white suburban kids, not the poor black kids. That would be like opening a restaurant for people without stomachs.”
Yet, he will gladly take our money while young black boys fascinated with the lifestyle/status associated with owning a pair of his kicks murder one another over the image of wealth that they represent.
MJ is not down for the cause and is using his own people to remain rich. That’s my opinion, so whoever’s mad will have to deal with it.
Only just recently has a scandal imploded over the internet that should have reminded black people everywhere why R. Kelly should be dismissed from their minds. Reports surfaced that Kelly allegedly was the ring leader of a ‘sex cult’ of young girls.
Why some black people were shocked at this was mind blowing to me.
I mean we are talking about the man who was video-taped PEEING on an underaged girl and married 15-year old R&B singer Aaliyah in the 1990s when he was in his thirties.
Even with all of this predatory behaviour, black people can still be seen at weddings, gatherings and concerts jamming to this man’s music, while some passionately still support him and call the mountain of accusations against him lies.
Given that sexual abuse of young girls (and women in general) has been on the rise in the black communities in America, the Caribbean and in Africa, one has to wonder why we as a people are still supporting and outwardly defending this man.
Black men should be protecting black women and not taking advantage of them, and should be putting this principle into action. Always.
Some call him a “legend” in the hip hop industry, and he has garnered the support of many in the black community. But…does he support his own?
From watching these videos, I don’t think he does. To dismiss the system of racism that has plagued people of colour all over the world for decades, just because he thinks he hasn’t experienced it due his privilege of being rich, is absolutely ludicrous. Additionally, I find it hard to believe that in a country like America that Lil Wayne as a black man has never dealt with or experienced racism. Racism has come for Lebron James, O.J. Simpson and even Oprah Winfrey, and these people are just as black, rich and influential as Lil Wayne. Furthermore, like so many other rap artists, the lyrics that he uses in his songs that degrade black women sexually and promote materialism and consumerism, are additional contributions to these unsavoury behaviours being perpetuated within the black community.
Though he later apologized for his comments despite some agreeing with and defending him, I think he meant what he said and this further proves that there are some members in the black community that don’t support or even care about us.
African Political Leaders
Some of those who hold the reigns politically in many African nations have shown their disregard for their people, by strategically and tyrannically keeping power for many years, and using their position and status to bleed these communities dry to fund their own lifestyles and agendas.
This has lead to much hatred among the people of these black nations for their leaders and authoritative structures, however, many still support these politicians and thus enable their continual rulership.
Moreover, these politicians have their own motives and it would seem from their actions that their intentions are not to help their people.
Read more about some of these African dictators here.
Of course, there are many more that I could add to this list, but it would take forever. The main trend I have observed is that these people are all in positions of power, authority or status and thus have a privilege that the majority of other black people do not have. They then have a choice, whether they would use this privilege to help their people or to exploit them. They have evidently chosen the latter.
The support of Black people is a powerful thing, but I think the real power lies in WHO we support and WHY. Are we supporting the right people for the right reasons? Do some of these black celebrities, politicians and social leaders have the best interest of black people at heart?
We in the black community always seem to strongly support those in high positions that look just like us, but I think it’s time we start analysing the possible hidden motives of those who claim to be us, but not for us.
Remember…just because they’re black it doesn’t mean we have to support them. By doing this we keep those who want to see us excel and do better in our inner circle, and this promotes the unity of our community and more opportunities for all.
So, here’s to supporting those that deserve it.