CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE: Black Celebs Forced to Address Injustice
The temperature is rising in America. Every time an unarmed Black man or woman is shot by law enforcement it rises several degrees. The seasons may be changing and the weather may be getting cooler, but the social justice climate is reflective of a year-round summer. The collective anger of the masses surpasses the heat of the sun. And it seems the government is offering every solution under the sun except Justice. America is at a pivot point; but she just won’t move.
People, of all races, are deciding to “sit out” The National Anthem. More importantly, they’re being educated on the bigoted foundation upon which it was written in the first place. America’s political hormones are all over the place with the most “unpresidential” presidential election in history. Black celebrities are caught up in the crossfire like never before. And, they should be.
I’ve have my share of personal experiences with celebrities and athletes. I’ve had my share of personal dealings with politicians. In most cases, there is not much difference. Both are taught to smile, wave, kiss babies and don’t say or do anything to “pi** off” your sponsors and/or donors. However, today is a new day. Most Black celebrities can hardly be interviewed without being asked the question “How do you feel about police shootings and the Black Lives Matter movement?” You can no longer be Black, famous, rich and insulated. Everyone will ultimately be forced to weigh in.
A philosopher once said “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, during a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” That neutral position is being sought aggressively under the umbrella of 3 words; “All Lives Matter.” When a public figure says these words in response to a question about “Black Lives Matter” it is their way of trying to maintain their position as a “porch Ni**a.” The porch Negro maintained the neutral position between the “House Slave” and the “Field Slave.” The Porch slave desired the cool air of the master’s house, but did not want to give up the protection provided by the field slaves. There was a time when Black America accepted this. Not anymore. The time will soon come when nobody will be permitted to become successful on the backs of Black people and side with our oppressors. That day is coming soon and fast.
One mishandled episode can earn you the label of “coon.” For instance, when Mary J. Blige decided to make up a Porch Negro spiritual in the midst of her interview with Hillary Clinton, she greatly damaged her credibility with her people. To sing “you can get shot for having American skin” was one of the most ill-advised, insulting stunts ever tried. What the hell is “American skin?” The most disappointing weigh-in came from Laila Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali, who had the nerve to ask a reporter “What is speaking out going to do?” when asked where she stood on the issue of the Black Lives Matter movement. She said her “All Lives Matter” position was partially to protect her sponsors. She actually said that!!! I started looking for the nearest brown paper bag so I would have a place to throw up. We are in a period of moral crisis. People are dying unjustly and police officers are getting paid vacations. She’s worried about her sponsors.
The legacy of Muhammad Ali was built on “speaking out”. For his daughter to ask the question “What is speaking out going to do?” is mind-boggling. It was his activism that cemented him in the hearts of the masses worldwide as the G.O.A.T; not his boxing prowess. The legacy of the name that she carries was built on “speaking out.” As a matter of fact, were it not for the power of her father’s voice, no one would care what she has to say. We wouldn’t even know who she was. It would have been better if she had just remained quiet instead of insulting her father’s legacy with such a “Porch slave” position. Hopefully, Mrs. Ali will clarify her statements and replace them with a more dignified approach to the plight of her suffering people.
My message to all Black celebrities is simple. The “All Lives Matter” position of neutrality will not suffice. Unfortunately, the situation in America will get worse before it gets better. Your “fans” will soon DEMAND of you a conscious approach to social issues. The people are not stupid. If you can’t support the cause of justice, the people who suffer will soon stop supporting you. When you lose the support of the people, do you think your sponsors will stand by your side? Hell no!!! Once you’ve been labeled a “coon” and your people abandon you, you will lose your sponsorships anyway. Colin Kaepernick is sponsored by God, Truth and the millions who back him. It’s time to get off the porch and stand for Justice. You have nothing to lose, except your chains.