Wednesday, January 19, 2011

21st Century Ambassadors: African American Icons And thier Influence in America

I'm quite sure out of all of us growing up as little kids very few if any of us were saying we wanted to be like Martin Luther King Jr. trying to keep all the kids getting along on the elementary school playground fighting for recess and snack time rights. There were most likely more of us singing TLC or trying to emulate Usher's moves in his videos (I know I got a few old heads reading but you guys gotta bear with me I guarantee someone is searching TLC right now). I can definetly speak for black people when I say the entertainment industry had a great influence in our growing up and how we went about our everyday lives. As much as I hate it, I fully understand and see we look up to these people and emulate them. Biggie Smalls being a great example, he told stories in his music of the struggle and how hard it was to be successful let alone break out of the poverty ridden ghettos in Brooklyn. 2pac told us to keep our heads up and to not let them above us bring us down, and Nas told us we could be whatever we wanted to be. These and many more artists inspired and motivated us on a day to day basis to push forward and to be the best we can be. I can't even count how many days music has brought me out of a hole and helped me get through the day. These people represent us, they pull us up and motivate us to do better, they are our 21st Century Black Ambassadors. 

With all the love we give these Ambassadors, almost twice as much jealously and hate is received through the media, and even from other Icons in the industry. Any man or woman who inspires millions and helps bring about a wave of change is bound to criticism, no matter who they are. Look at it this way; it would be a lot easier to go after the leader of the flock rather then to take down all his followers one by one. That bird represents the best of what they have, someone every single one of them looks up to in some way and is very proud of. So they attack the flock leader, they make up lies about him, start rumors, destroy their image the best way they can. And if that person is that much of a threat they might even go as far as kill them, even though their message will still live on. Thats what Jesus Christ was, thats what Biggie was, what Malcolm X was, and more then anyone thats what Michael Jackson was. 

All these men at some point even with their drive and will to succeed at their respective purposes in life at some point came to a conclusion that it had become bigger then just them. They carried a city, a country, and in some cases the world on their backs, never having the intentions to let them down. And we followed, knowing that they were maybe not our only hope, but without a doubt our biggest. 

Each part of the country had or has their own Representative; Biggie Smalls was the East Coast, 2pac was the West Coast, Lil Wayne is Louisiana,  I could go on for hours. Everyone had or has their own representative that they praise and poster up on their walls. And just how Barack Obama is blamed for everything that the U.S. does from the outside in, so are these guys for their respective areas. But when it comes to star power and their impact on the world nobody comes even close to our biggest African American Representative; Michael Jackson. Say what you want about Michael, but his impact on the world even after his death has been amazing. His music brought millions to their feet, his heart and willingness to give to the less fortunate has touched the hearts of millions. Hes brought people from all kinds of backgrounds together like I've never seen before. And like I said before when you get as much praise as this man has, the false accusations come, the rumors, the lies, the harassment. Their objective was to take the best of us and make him look like a fool, like hes nothing, tearing all of our hope away from us. They were jealous of Michael, even worse they were jealous of us, because he was the best of African Americans! Sadly for many blacks I talk to, their view on Michael thanks to the image created by the media is at the least bad. Blacks don't understand that this is what they wanted to do, this was their intentions, to tear Michael down. People lost hope in him, they called him all these names, mocked him and made him into a joke. This was the best of us, and yet everyone went and turned their backs on him, yet he did nothing wrong but care. Nobody had it as bad as Michael did, and yet he kept on fighting. 

I'm not trying to make you love Michael Jackson, or hate those who oppress him, I'm just trying to make you think. Black Ambassadors represent hope, they represent every single one of us  in some kind of way. So for anyone to just off and turn their back on them the second they're accused of something, is a mockery in itself. Thats like Biggie Smalls going off and writing a I hate Brooklyn song its just straight up being a traitor, he would never do that to us. You didn't see white people turning their back on Eminem when he wrote a crazy ass song about killing his ex wife. Take pride and love in what you got, because just like 2pac, or Biggie, or Malcolm, or Dr. King, or even Michael as were all learning now you don't know how good we got it until its gone.

Strength In Numbers; The Power Of Black America

One thing I really can't stand is a person with excuses. I know people who will make every single excuse in the book to explain why they can't do something, why they cant go somewhere. Almost every single person that is making an excuse is just plain wrong and lazy. A thing I can't stand even more is when a black man makes an excuse, saying "the white man is holding us down, they wont give me a job." I can almost guaranteed that the person that said that to you probably messed up somewhere down the line and expects someone to just hand something over to them. As messed up as this country is, I believe that everyone has a chance to be successful somehow, its just a matter of HOW BAD YOU WANT IT. I've heard stories of blacks pulling themselves out of the ghetto and climbing out to be successful no matter what the circumstances, they didn't care what they had to do, they refused to live that lifestyle anymore.The ones I love even more then those lazy excuse makers are the ones that say " the black man has no place in America, we have no say in the government." Anyone who is dumb enough to believe that really needs to sit down and read what I have to say. 

In the 2008 election, 16.1 million African Americans voted for our next president of the United States. The voter turnout rate for ages 18-24 was at 55%, the biggest turnout rate for this age group. Now this is the interesting part of this to me, Barack Obama won the election 69.5 million votes to John McCain's 59.9 million. Whites definetly do dominate the numbers game being 75% of the United States Population, but being that they split down almost to the middle besides some swing voters (the lost ones) they actually almost cancel themselves out. This leaves the minorities to sort out the results in the election. And who is the second biggest race group in the United States? Africans Americans take that place holding 12.5 percent of the population. Obviously people under 18 can't vote but to put it in perspective a little bit Ill have you look at it like this; lets say 5 million of the blacks that voted for Obama decided to vote for McCain instead, thats only less than a third of the blacks that went out to the polls, McCain would've won the election. What am I saying? If we as a race could come together and figure out what we wanted and needed we could decided who's in the White House calling the shots. The interesting thing about this is only 55% of people from 18-24 who could've voted went out and did! So next time someone says to you that we don't have a say in the government and that the white man is holding them down, ask them did they vote in the last election, and if they didn't tell them to shut up because they had a chance to have thier say but they didn't take advantage of it. 

Black people we need to understand that its not the 60's or 70's anymore, were really coming up as a race and fast. To prove this, let me show you a few facts I came across while doing some research:

-In the fall of 2008, there were roughly 2.5 million black college students, this is roughly double the number from 25 years ago.

-Among blacks 25 and older, 1.5 million have an advanced degree (masters, doctorates) compared to 900,000 in 1999.

-In 2007, reciepts for black owned businesses totaled up to 137.4 billion dollars, up 55.1% in 2002.

If you wanna look at the website yourself its here:

The day that black people understand the power and say we have in American is the day that things will get brighter for us, I can guarantee that. I'm not trying to make you hate Republicans or love Democrats, I'm trying to make you think. I want no more complaining from my people, we control our destiny if we get out and stand up for ourselves.

The Power Of Perception: A Wakeup Call To Our Generation

You hear people say the expression all the time "dont judge a book by its cover," yet we as humans fail to mold this into our day to day lives. We all watch television from time to time and even the news, but many people dont understand how a point of view can be created even in a simple news story about an Afghan American being strip searched in an airport ( I dont need to say anything else, you already know where that was heading). In America things have been simplified, we have cellphones, we have microwaves, we have remote controls. It feels like everything is being done for us now, yet we still dont have time to do anything. But are we getting to the point that we dont even have enough energy and time to form our own opinion anymore? Now you can see news stations doing it for you, making you a democrat or republican overnight (Im just gonna mention the green party here because they never get any love, dont worry I know you guys are out there).

A great example of this is the presidental election of 2008 when we elected Barack Obama as the first black president of the United States. Before I move any further, I just wanna say that whether he was Black, Hispanic, or Mexican I would've been proud. His being elected in my mind measures the strides that we as Americans over the generations have been making, where color doesn't matter as much anymore. Yes there were still some "messages for the deaf robots" but Ill save that for another time.  Now back to the election, if you look at the money raised by each candidate you'll see a trend here. Ralph Nader came in third place with about 738,000 votes, he raised 4.5 million dollars, a good amount of money right? John McCain came in second with about 60 million votes, raising 347 million dollars, talk about some door to door action! And of course our president Obama came in first with 69.5 million votes raising 513 million dollars!!! Just another note for you When George Bush ran for president in 2004 he raised 367 million dollars to win compared to John Kerry's 326 million (got all this info from the federal elections commission). If you didn't know most of this money is spent on advertising, and commercials to reach out to us the voters. We've all seen the commercials where they try to talk up one candidate and bash another, its an old thing thats been happening for years. Now, how many Ralph Nader commercials did you see last election? In fact Ill go even further, do you know the candidate Ron Paul, member of the U.S. house of representatives from the Texas 14th district? Of course most of you don't, as even I didn't and I felt cheated not knowing some of these candidates and what they represent. But its nobody's fault but our own, as we as Americans fail to dig and research and know about the potential person who will run our country (when you put it that way it seems a little more important). Bottom line is that based off this trend the more money you get, the more commercials and face time you get, which means your more likely gonna win. If this was maybe 20-30 years ago before the internet age picked up I wouldn't have any problem with that. But with all the ways we have to research and find information ( I found that fundraising information for both those elections within seconds)  theres absolutely no excuse for us to not know about all the candidates and ensure we pick the rightful winner. But our "perception" during the 2008 election was that Barack Obama was definitely the right candidate to turn these hard times around for America. And how couldn't you, his face was on the TV every hour on the hour telling you to vote for him and that change was coming. Nobody saw the one commercial in Texas that Ron Paul had talking about cutting the military and bringing our troops home. 

Everyone that knows me well knows how I feel about BET (Black Entertainment Television) and what it does to the black image in America. If you don't here it is in a nutshell, I don't like BET, as a representative of what black people are (our only major representative outside of sports) the station doesn't do a good job of showing a lot of the great intellectual successful black people we have. All I see when I turn that channel on is asses shaking and money flying all over the place. They give you the "perception" that all black people care about is money and "getting ass." And you gotta see this the way I'm looking at it; imagine your a foreigner and you just came to America. Straight off the boat you've never met or seen a black person in your life, and you turn on BET. All you see is blacks smoking weed, shooting at each other(lyrically or literally) and occasionally selling drugs, with a dose of sex on the side (sometimes its all sex, wait until the midnight hour). Now your gonna assume (because its what we all would do) that MOST black people do all these things. Your gonna assume that most of your black friends can get you weed. Your gonna assume that most of your black friends are involved in some type of gang. Your gonna assume that most of your black friends can rap, or have been to jail. I'm not saying that BET is horrible, but what does BET stand for? Black ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION, meaning that most blacks are entertained and can relate to this, so what do you think people are gonna think? I know most of you will say "who cares what people think, they can think what they want," well when your being disrespected because you look like that guy from BET who was getting high all the time and nobody takes you seriously then see how much you care. We as black people need to show off our intellectuals more, I'm tired of hearing about Lebron James or Jay Z more then Al Sharpton or Jessie James.

I'm not here trying to change your "perception" of the world or how you feel about anything, I'm just trying to make you think (some of you seem to have forgotten how to do that). If you gonna come on here and say something ignorant and that makes no sense then just don't say anything (you'll only be making BET officials look like geniuses). Just understand the power of Perception in todays world, don't be the idiot that believes anything you here. 
Like Malcolm X said; "A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything"