There was a time in this country when African-American celebrities weren’t afraid to speak out against injustices of their race. Perhaps because many of them were still feeling the indignities of the Jim Crow era and/or because they truly cared. Jackie Robinson, Nina Simone, Lena Horne, Paul Roebeson, Muhammed Ali, & of course Harry Belafonte, just to name a few. They fearlessly spoke up & participated in social issues not worried about the effect it would have on their career status. Without them & our Black leadership, Dr.King, MalcolmX, & Meadgar Evars, there’s no doubt, African-Americans would have remained second class citizens in the country we built.
This is why I’m baffled today’s’ celebrities are so indifferent to those that paved their way. Don’t they realize if so many had not laid down lives & limbs for them, they wouldn’t have the education or opportunity to have to acquired the wealth & platforms of influence they have?
If Jim Crow was still in place, would they even allow Oprah Winfrey to have a daytime talk show or network?
Would Sean Carter have ever gotten any airplay? For that matter, would he’d even been able to sell drugs in Brooklyn, where he drew most of his earlier catalog of music from?
Would Don Lemon even had the chance to obtain a degree in journalism (& someone check on that for me please, I’m not sure he has one), if not for Plessy vs Ferguson & all of the other legislative cases following the landmark decisions?
Of course not, but these African American’s don’t feel any gratitude towards those that paved their way. And they certainly feel no obligation to pave the way for future generations.
It’s apparent in these quotes:
Oprah Winfrey: “I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn’t there.”
In America, she says, “If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don’t ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school.” (Imagine in a country where fewer than 3/4th of the kids have no access to TV & decent footwear, these kids don’t want IPods & sneakers).
And this little gem on “Trayvon Martin case: “Trayvon Martin, parallel to Emmett Till,” Oprah told The Grio’s Chris Witherspoon. “Let me just tell you, in my mind, same thing. But you can get stuck in that and not allow yourself to move forward and to see how far we’ve come.” In her mind it’s the same thing, but she doesn’t think she should use any of her influence or power to help seek justice “because we’ve come so far”. Wow, what if slaves had that attitude & just said, we’re free now, let’s not rock the boat anymore, remember how far we’ve come? Yes I hear you, Miss Sophia.
Sean Carter on Harry Belafonte ‘s criticism of his lack of social responsibility:
“I’m offended by that because first of all, and this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity. Just who I am. Just like Obama’s is……” Mr.Carter, if not for people like Dr.King, MalcolmX, you’re own great-grandparents willingness to fight injustice, you probably wouldn’t be allowed to sweep the floor of Madison Square Garden, least of all sell out shows. Even with the benefit of all those sacrificed before you, you’re fortunate that escaped a lengthy jail sentence.)
AND You are nothing like Obama! He has several degrees, is a constitutional law professor and is President of the United States. Your presence is not “charity”, your audience’s ticket sales are charity to you & I pray Green Ivory’s” (or whatever the hell her name is) college fund. But you, sir aren’t charity. By your own admission, you helped contribute to the destruction of your community. Anyone with a conscience & your luck would jump at the opportunity to save more lives. You don’t sound arrogant, you sound uneducated.
Don Lemon, it’s understandable that working for network that has fired every other black correspondent, you might not want to do anything to rock the boat. But you do understand w/o the sacrifices that came before you, you could just have well ended up a butler. If we hadn’t come so far on the backs, necks & lives that ended slavery & Jim Crow, you wouldn’t have had the platform you had.
As a gay black man you know that a 5 point plan to end gay violence could have been as superficial as the 5 point plan you gave to chastise African Americans? I mean, I could suggest you hit the gym 3 times a week, as to beef up your so flamboyantly feminine appearance, which might inspire homophobes to not target you. But that would be just as silly as you using Mr Martin’s death a springboard for your superficial tirade of black culture, which addressed none of the issues that spawned racial violence.
It can’t be entirely blamed on these people . They have many contemporaries who place profits over morality & equality .They were just smart enough to keep their mouths shut.
Let’s just be grateful & supportive of the brave celebrities & legends like Stevie Wonder, Eddie Levert, Chaka Khan, Lala Hathaway, Joy Reid & many more will join in the effort for justice. Please thank & go out support these brave & talented artists. There will be many more, I’m sure of it. Unlike Don Lemon, I don’t believe blacks are inherently stupid.