I dont necessarily agree with this post in its entirety, but it is a legitimate contribution to the debate about the contradictory and problematic role played by some artists and those in the Black entertainment industry - Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm
Black History Specialist Aaron Johnson: Belafonte Was Right about Jay-Z and Beyonce
By Aaron D. Johnson
The overall direction or lack thereof of the so called African American community is a frightening one to think about, let alone talk about. As an educator in New York, I can tap into the pulse of the youth of our community in a way that provides insight as to what young African Americans think about and are concerned with. After conversing with many of our youth about the insanity that has attached itself to our community like a parasite to a host, it is more and more evident that there is a mechanism in place that perpetuates our cultural and societal quandary.
The infirmity that beleaguers our communities is the fruit of a deeply rooted tree of African and African American cultural destruction. African Americans have been taught to subscribe to the most destructive and ignorant components of our society. In order to counteract this growing problem, the elders of the community as well as people who have some kind of power or influence should reach back to help restore African American society and cultural significance. The question becomes: Will they care enough to actively work to make change? Harry Belafonte hit the nail on the proverbial head when he verbalized his distaste for the selfishness of Beyonce and Jay Z. But they are just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot more people on this list and the problems with these so – called celebrities are deeper than we think.
I always likened people like Jay Z, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Russell Simmons, and others like them as hustlers of the hood. They unabashedly produce the vilest content without regard for the damage it does to the African American community. They do so to quench their thirst for that mighty dollar. Money, power, fame, and elitism motivate their every move. They are calculative with how they present their brand. The word brand was purposely used because it seems as though they lose their personhood when they have reached a certain status. Many of these hustlers are consumable commodities without honest, off the cuff, meaningful, or personal opinions. Everything that they do is contrived and money minded. So social commentary is a rarity.
Even though they are themselves from the very community that they are poisoning, it is almost like they couldn’t care less about the quagmire that African Americans in the 21st century are in. These peddlers of filth are like Black slave drivers on the plantation. It almost seems as though plantation owners put them on a horse, gave them a shot gun, and said “keep those niggas in check.” Their actions are synonymous with a reply of “yes sir boss.” In the days of slavery, Black slave drivers were promoted to their positions by the master of the plantation. They were expected to keep the Negroes in line so to speak. Black slave drivers acquired a position of authority but remained one of the lowest forms of humanity by society’s standards of the time.
The record companies are in essence plantation owners and people like Jay Z, Combs, and Simmons are the slave drivers. The record companies dictate what kinds of content they want produced and these hustlers/drivers acquiesce no matter the collateral damage. In many interviews these hustlers have defended the content that they have produced. The nonsensical excuse that they are just poets of the hood talking about the problems of the hood is ridiculous. There is difference between commentary and glorification. It doesn’t matter either way because they are given a license to be socially irresponsible. There did not create our society’s predicament, but they package, market, and sell it.
At the end of the day, we have some very hard questions to ask of ourselves? Why do we the consumers allow this to occur? Do we care about the Black community? Do they care about the Black community? Do they even value the words of Harry Belafonte? Do they give a damn about his sacrifice and the sacrifice of so many others who have come before them? Why is there no chorus of the larger African American community rallying behind the comments of Harry Belafonte?
In 2012, the African American community is in a peculiar state. Many of the ignorant, self – hating, and culturally unaware people have microphones. Their messages are loudly and vigorously marketed and have become socially acceptable. The people who speak out get shouted down by the brainwashed masses. Others are afraid to sound old or behind the times. Some are fearful of the confrontation that will arise when the defenders of imbecility come for them and their opinions. The fact that the people who could make significant changes in the African American community with their status refuse to do so has become accepted. There are no standards with who the African American community and the hustlers are made to abide by.
Jay Z and all of the other slave driving hustlers do not have to think about the community. They do not have to express concern about it. The community does not require them to do so. The African American community can celebrate that these individuals have made it and that we are proud of them with no strings attached. Their selfishness has been going on for a long time now. We are entrenched in it. Think about it, would the caricatures Two Chains, Nikki Minaj, or any of these other clowns have a record deal if we or the husler/drivers gave a damn? Selfishness, greed, fame, and the illusion of inclusion as Paul Mooney put it, trumps selflessness, generosity, humility, and knowledge of self every time.