Jay –Z and Beyoncé have caught the attention of not only of America but also of the world, and to what expense? Jay-Z and Beyoncé, “Watching the Carters” “Keeping up with the Carters” is the solicitation of psychological programs that allow the entire community to create this illusion of grandeur by living vicariously through two individuals who could care less about the “average Joe’s” experience on life. This can be true as we shout for their attention or run behind their every action. What are the costs of running behind the Carter’s as if they are role models for social progress for the entire African American community? What’s worse is that this is not a job that they have solicited nor have they actually appeared on a ballot to be representation of the entire African American hip-hop generations epitome of success.
There is an illusion that relates to our ability to accumulate the amount of wealth of these two individuals in such a short period of time without having at least 100 to 1,000 employees, or at least a particular product that they, themselves produce. Instead they are the product; distributed by major concert venues, record labels, apparel lines, the NETS franchise, Pepsi-Cola, H&M, D’usse cognac and other endorsements. This is not the problem. This road map of “Keeping up With the Carters” the new age “Joneses” is reflecting on the fact that we no longer have or acquired any of the things the Joneses had. There is less home-ownership, fewer two-parent homes and fewer examples of the Joneses as being some ascertainable ideal.
There is an illusion that is being created in the African American community by chasing the Carters. The Carters can fly to Cuba and arrange through treasury and speak their visions through venture capitalist and investment bankers who invest in their global initiatives. Yet we talk about it, the efforts, the requirements for acquiring or moving to those heights that the Carters have assumed are not on the average African American’s (or white’s) agenda. We are fixed on how Blue Ivy’s hair is tied, we are fixed to what Beyoncé wears and will do it at the expense of an SAT, GRE, GED or MCAT. Life is full of test and testing yourself on if you can wear what the Carters wear or be where the Carters are, is having an affect on the psychological profile as an entire community.
The designations that will afford the greatest profit such as, J.D. or M.D. or even entrepreneur are no longer what we aspire to. What we sign on the front of the check is not the issue; none of us can see or identify the employees of the Carter franchise. Many of us are unaware of the African American accountants, lawyers, consultants associated with the Carter franchise. With the Joneses, they belonged to something that was accessible, they were linked to fraternities, sororities or HBCUs. Yet we are poised to follow behind the Carters, what they tweet and retweet and our ability, as a community to acquire wealth seems to be diminishing.
We’ve gone back to an idea of who we want to be. The Joneses and the Carters are illusions in our minds. There seems to be a collective need for a response. Maybe the Carter’s will articulate a collective idea of what it is. Perhaps Jay-Z will write a book, a father’s coaching book, interviewing celebrity fathers on what it is to raise children and dedicate it young fathers. We are in high hopes that Beyoncé is a good mother and waiting for her to write the book so we can spend money buying the book and maybe she will donate the money to Spelman College or Fisk University or UNCF or the Michael Lomax organization.
Keeping up with the Carter’s is something we need to be thinking about. We should consider how hard they work and how they don’t participate in criminal activity or things that seem to be highlighted as “good” in the hip-hop community. There’s a collective African American community that needs to focus on it’s prizes. We need highlight and to understand that we need to provide for our families and be fathers. At no point in time has the blue print for the African American community been as a result of an individual but as a collective. Not a person running for President, or number one on Billboard, but when collectively we have sought to work together.
We’ll come up with the Carter principles and use their success as a blueprint to moving forward. Keep up with the Carters, but also keep up with the African American collective for success.