People, please stop putting a battery into Lavar Ball’s back, then usurping the energy for your own personal use! It’s selfish.
What do I mean by this? When we perceive someone like Lavar Ball as a “rebel” who is going against the very system that is oppressing or exploiting us, we put him on a pedestal. We give his persona a “charge” of energy. We then sit back at our desk at work, or behind our computer, and use his personal plight as a measuring stick for our own progress in this country. It is not!!!!
What Lavar does to empower his family has no bearing on your existence. Even if he sells a million pairs of sneakers, how do you benefit? We have become so docile as a people that action is no longer required to reach our personal goals, we just watch others accomplish theirs. We love to live vicariously through those that we feel are “bucking” the system or going against our so-called oppressors, meanwhile, we never physically do anything but feel good about the experience, no matter how fleeting it is. It’s the same reason we root for the bad guy in a movie, or salute a revolutionary who gave his life to “defeat” the system, or feel inspired when a football player drops to one knee during the national anthem. It is the same reason we go to the movies to see “Birth of a Nation”, scream Black Power at the screen every time we kill our oppressor, then go home like nothing ever happened. It is the same reason we march for justice every time one of our young are wrongfully gunned down by the police, blow off some steam, then go back to work the next day. It is the same reason we go crazy when Kendrick Lamar drops one line about black being a color, and we act like he just cracked the atom! We are in a sunken place, and Lavar Ball’s antics are the latest in a long line of so-called revolutionary acts that are somehow going to “free” us from this madness.
We are in a sunken place when we revere “revolutionary” rappers, who are signed and paid for by the very system that we are fighting against but puts out music going against…the system. We are in a sunken place when we go crazy about a movie called, “Get Out’ which warns us about the dangers of dating White Women, yet the writer and director is married to a White woman. We are in a sunken place when the hottest song on the soundtrack for “Get Out” was called “Redbone”, which warned us to stay “woke’, and yet he (Childish Gambino) too has a White Wife. We are in a sunken place when a brother can hit me up on my timeline to warn me about Facebook, Instagram, and Apple stealing our information, monitoring our actions, and using face recognition software to watch us, yet his message was sent to me from an iPhone! I digress.
When we are not living vicariously through our favorite athlete or celebrity, while never leaving the comfort of our own home, we are criticizing their every action. It brings us great comfort and joy to know that we are not dumb athletes who are puppets of society that make tens of millions of dollars in the process…huh?
It makes us feel good to know that we are not gorgeous thots who can twerk and make $30,000 in a night, wait, what? We love the fact that we are not Mumble rappers who have signed record, movie, and commercial deals worth millions of dollars, umm, really? Our ego and esteem receive an enormous boost knowing that we didn’t partake in any of this foolishness, all while wiping down a table at McDonald’s, lol okay.
Mask off, we don’t hate hustlers, ballers, Thots, Gangster rappers, or even mumble rappers for that matter. We hate the fact that they have no fear. We hate the fact that they can come and go as they please, fly around the world in G5 jets, spend thousands of dollars in a strip club, eat in the finest restaurants, have sex with as many beautiful women as they please, etc. Meanwhile, you are stuck in a dead-end job, making minimum wage, afraid to pursue your own dreams, admit it. Yet it’s so much easier to just watch their videos, listen to their music, and fantasize about that life.
The other extreme is the keyboard revolutionaries that can find everything wrong with P. Diddy’s life (and believe me there is a lot), but will never acknowledge that he has also built charter schools, launched media companies that employ Black people, and is a successful mogul. These same revolutionaries will be quick to say LeBron James is just another athlete being exploited by corporate America, yet won’t acknowledge that he has donated millions to educate the youth of Ohio, and is even building his own school in 2018. We are quick to criticize Jay-Z as a two-bit hustler who bragged about selling drugs to his own community to get ahead, yet he is an amazing father, who married the woman of his dreams, owns multiple companies, donates to many charities, and is worth nearly a billion dollars. These same keyboard revolutionaries who can tell you everything wrong with the government, money system, politics, and the “Illuminati” but have absolutely nothing to show for their existence on this earth other than a few online rants that may have gone viral. Here is the most revealing part of this statement, I was that person!
I didn’t emerge from a sunken place until I realized that I am not responsible for how other people live their lives. I didn’t escape the sunken place until I realized that I can only control what I can control, and I am only responsible for my own ways and actions. I removed myself from a sunken place when I stopped trying to live other people’s dreams and realities, and began creating my own. I rose from a sunken place when I stopped worrying about Rompers, Mumble rappers, Trump, and realized that my purpose here on this planet is much greater than that. What will it take for you to escape that sunken place?
The Black Dot is the author or the underground classic Hip-Hop Decoded, and his new book, Urban Culture Decoded.