the idea that black folks need prominent black male music artists to acknowledge the oppression black people face circles back to severely flawed models of movement building that comes out of black history
in both instances we’re relying on black men to lead or speak for our communities and only when they’ve attained the power, money, status, recognition necessary to be in that position to make the impact we perceive they can.
and yet when it finally happens and they actively choose not to, instead opting to say things many of us don’t agree with, we collectively act disappointed, ask ourselves how this happened, and then go back to waiting for another black man to “lead us once again” or “speak for us once again”
its one thing for flawed notions of black leadership to pervade our social justice and organizing strategies
its a whole other ball of wax to let it seep into pop culture
because people latch on to that shit
i mean think about it
think about how many white liberals will make fun of hermain cain and other black republicans because in their minds why would a black person supposedly go against their own self interests by joining the republican party
but then subsequently don’t bat an eyelash when people like Pharrell talk about the New Black, a concept that is inherently post-racial. will go so far to endorse it and defend it like nothing is wrong
cycles of politics help people like Hermain Cain fade into obscurity. conservatives of color are recycled more times than coke bottles by their political parties because even the political analysis with no anti-oppression praxis can usually poke holes in their logic, and once that happens, once they fall out of public favor and the jokes become stale, the party drops them and moves on to the next hopeful show pony
but pop culture operates on a different cycle where the folks saying shit we don’t want them to say are given more air time. collective memory functions differently in a way that keeps the momentum going
so no matter how much people point out the fuckery of Pharrell, Kanye, Lupe, Nas, Russell Simmons, whoever, people will hardly notice or not even care because they’ve become hit makers. they’re in the public eye purely for their entertainment value, for the ratings they draw, for the revenue. and in many respects they become untouchable by their own communities. at that point the only people who have the power to knock them down are the white people who put them there in the first place
and why would they ever want to knock down a person who says "The new black doesn’t blame other races for our issues. The new black dreams and realizes that it’s not a pigmentation, it’s a mentality.It’s either going to work for you or it’s going to work against you and you’ve got to pick which side you’re gonna be on. You choose to be on."
why would white supremacy want to knock down the person who takes “mind over matter” and fuses it with “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”
its a mantra that’s pure gold in an era that considers itself “post-racial”