Have any seat you like!
In the days since the George Zimmerman verdict, average Joes and celebrities alike have all taken to social and traditional media to air their grievances, show their support or outright piss people off with their thoughts, feelings and opinions about the trial, civil rights and race relations. Overnight, talking heads, entertainers and everyone in between have become sociologists and feel the overwhelming urge to tell America, specifically Black America, what is wrong with it and how they can fix it. I wish they would stop. For real, quit it. It’s bringing out the worst in too many people.
Case in point, Mr. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, himself is involved in a “beef” with Harry Belafonte. As I understand it, Jiggaman is upset with Mr. Belafonte over some remarks he made a year ago after being asked if he was happy with the way Black people are being portrayed in Hollywood. He said that it’s an abuse to have such high-profile artists who are Black, like Jay-Z and Beyonce, who have turned their backs on social responsibility.
In an interview with Rap Radar’s Elliot, Hova said, “This is going to sound arrogant. But my presence is charity. Just who I am.”
Maybe it’s just me but, perhaps Jay misunderstood what Mr. Belafonte was saying. His point was that Jay and his wife should be using their status to not only “raise awareness” but to become active participants in the struggle. Hov took the opportunity to not only thumb his nose at an elder but he thumbed his nose at the people actually fighting for the cause. Your presence is charity? Well, we don’t need your charity, we need your actual work. Mr. Belafonte, he did the work. He not only put his presence where his mouth was, he put his money there, too. He put his time. His effort. What has Jay done? Shown up to a rally to call attention to an already popular matter? Gee, thanks.
I don’t recall seeing or hearing about him making an effort to speak out against blatant racism or putting his hands on any of these young men who listen to his music and aspire to live the stories he’s rapping about. While he’s busy being a charity, the young people who follow him know nothing of their own power and that is what Mr. Belafonte was trying to convey. Engage your captive audience. Encourage them to DO something besides shake their asses. And whilst we’re here, somebody go grab up Don Lemon so he can hear this, too.
I’ve always admired Don. He’s been a great talent on CNN. I admired his courage to come out in a business that doesn’t always allow for people to insert the person into their jobs. I bought his book – he even autographed it for me. He shared an encouraging word with me after I got laid off. I just happen to disagree with everything he had to say in his “No Talking Points” segment on Saturday.
He laid out a 5-point plan that I believe in my heart of hearts he was sharing what he believes is advice for Black folks to get their acts together. The points include black men pulling up their pants, using the word nigger, picking up litter in the community, finishing school and to stop having babies out-of-wedlock.
OK, Don, let’s get real. All black men can collectively pull up their pants, wear Dockers and sweater vests or put on the finest Italian suit money can buy, it will NOT change how they are viewed by their racist counterparts. The word nigger, well, I hate that word, too. I understand, tho, that not using it won’t make it go away. It also won’t stop racists from using it either. Perhaps the most ridiculous of them all, picking up litter. Litter, Don? How … Why … Were you just looking for something to hold this up? Finishing school I can agree with to a certain extent. I will say this, tho, whether you have a GED or a PhD, to the racist you will either be the dumb nigger or the smart one. Either way, they’re STILL calling you (and treating you) like a nigger. Lastly, how you mustered the unmitigated gall to utter such nonsense about children being born out-of-wedlock is beyond me. Seriously, if children weren’t born out-of-wedlock, a majority of us wouldn’t be here – me (and you) included.
Just as Jay would rather sit back and be offended rather than be inspired, you would rather point fingers than extend a hand to help. Perhaps leaving the anchor desk once in a while to, I don’t know, tutor some of these folks to help them stay in school or offer up some of your fashion sense, you could help the cause by empowering the people who look like you rather than picking an unnecessary fight to further divide us.
Yes, you and Jay both worked to get where you are but neither of you would be where you are were it not for the people who offered you a hand up and in some cases a hand out. While the two of you retreat to your respective, plush homes in a world void of prejudice and racism, the rest of us are out here living our lives, fighting our respective battles in this generation’s movement for civil rights. I’m sure you both are good-hearted men who had good intentions that simply backfired in a major way. At this time, I’m asking that both of you simply acknowledge the foolishness you created and find a job to support or report the movement. Until then, go to the Barclays Center and Phillips Arena and have any damn seat you like.