Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z: We Are a Community
There are 57 ways to do away with members of your own community. There are too many ways to enumerate here to end a life with a fork, i.e., diet and nutrition, but it is also highly likely that death will come from a violent end in our own neighborhoods. What is it about our culture that purports misogynistic leanings, criminal activity and violence? We celebrate the thug and the thug life in music and song. We assert that cash is king, drugs help and women are objectified at every turn.
We reward celebrity of any kind, but who is rapping about the apathy of young brothers and sisters who are not graduating from high school and we can only assume that they don’t vote, reducing the possibilities for their futures to a dismal compilation of missed invitations and denied opportunities.
But given the fact that school systems across the country are losing control over their own operations, with so many in urban communities deemed incapable of managing programs and educating the students whose futures they are charged with. The embattled Detroit Public School System and Highland Park’s failed municipal operations are prime examples of the dangerous trend taking hold in so many segments of the culture, and further decimating the futures of young African Americans.
But another failure can be attributed to the individuals the current generation looks to for social and cultural development — the artists and celebrities young people identify with and whose moral cues they embrace and adopt as their own. But the submission of one’s moral belief system to trendy practices leads to the type of violent crime we are seeing in the city of Chicago, where the number of shootings is only exceeded by the death toll in Afghanistan.
It’s not uncommon to remember and celebrate the greats of our time. I remember Marvin Gaye and “What’s Going On,” or James Brown’s “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.” I am not at all certain that the sentiment is quite the same today, but those were the social tenets of that time.
And now as African American students around the country return to school and to those same failed and struggling school systems, where is the assistance or even an iota of acknowledgement and attention from the megastars of music and entertainment about the conditions of school and the state of education in urban communities … let alone any tangible assistance like books and school supplies for the disadvantaged? Has intellect and intelligent endeavor been eclipsed by ignorance and pursuit of a more banal lifestyle? Is mediocrity the high point of our existence?
Are we prepared to give up our designer mind-sets and Chanel bags to help a mother pay her mortgage or to give homeless man a meal? Collectively, the onus is on us to hold the entertainers we make famous accountable to their fans, and ultimately, the community. Take the time to identify and encourage five rappers, two R&B stars and one neo-soul artist to come together to make the Internet more accessible, to raise the profile of HBCUs, improve public school systems, and generate funding for the United Negro College Fund and its programs to benefit black students.
I am sure that Michel Lomax along with presidents of other HBCUs would appreciate the assistance of Kanye, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and Mariah Carey. That would be a Grammy-wininhg act.