#Thoughts: I Am Not A Role Model
On the evening of November 1, 2016, an interview on the Nightline television program aired. It featured the polarizing public figure, Dwayne Carter; widely known as Lil' Wayne. As with some of his past interviews, the commentary he provides may not be accepted by the masses due to the nature of what is being said. He has been in the national spotlight for almost two decades, so the things that he says should not be a surprise to the millions of people that were shocked by his statements. During the interview, Lil' Wayne told ABC News' Linsey Davis "I don't feel connected to a damn thing that ain't got nothing to do with me. (in reference to the Black Lives Matter movement...) You feeling connected to something that ain't got nothing to do with you? If it ain't got nothing to do with me, I ain't connected to it."
I think it's time to stop judging people of privilege to our standards. Every African-American actor, athlete or entertainer is not going to be Jim Brown or Muhammad Ali. We've all lived through different experiences, learned various lessons and have been exposed to unique circumstances, so the notion that our thought process would all be uniform makes no sense to me; and it shouldn't to you, either. African-Americans of status, such as Cam Newton, have recently come under scrutiny for their stances (or lack thereof...) on the Black Lives Matter movement. I for one, disagree with the point of view that they may share, but I'm not here to crucify them for it. With them being in a position of power, we expect them to usher in the Revolution, or the Civil Rights Movement for the next millennium. What most of us fail to realize is, these men or women might not be cut out for the task at hand.
Colin Kaepernick, Jesse Williams and Killer Mike (just to name a few...), are individuals that are fully qualified to articulate the plight of the African-American male in the modern-day United States. They are knowledgeable about current events, and remain active enough in their respective communities to understand exactly what's going on. As a people, we always need to be aware of the social climate around us because for too long we've been victims of the systematic oppression that's plagued this country since it's inception in the 1770's. There are some people however, of a higher class or tax bracket that are not directly affected by the problems of middle and lower classed African-Americans, so naturally there's going to be a disconnect. Everyone does not have to be an activist, but everyone should make an effort to do their part.
The aforementioned names throughout this editorial should not be considered role models... but in actuality, they are. Charles Barkley's famous Nike commercial shed some light on the heavy responsibility that many athletes, entertainers and celebrities take on once they are in the spotlight; some set good examples, some don't. I do feel that once God bestows blessings upon you, such as fame or fortune, it is your obligation to use your stature in order to promote positivity. As I stated earlier, every African-American of a higher social class may not be able to orate, but they can donate money to charities, or provide help to people in less fortunate situations, etc.
Some people's point of view I may not agree with, but I've learned to refrain from passing judgment. Maybe we all should adopt that way of thinking... just a thought.
- Oak (@coolhandoak)