Money Can’t Buy ‘Woke’

Look, I won’t lie, son. This topic has been on my mind for some time now. While I could rail against racial prejudice and institutional bias until I’m blue in the face, sometimes the bullseye needs to be placed squarely on our own chests. With that being said, this post is dedicated to all of the Black celebrities who don’t seem to understand racism. Thank you for proving to us regular folk that money can’t buy “woke.”

While A$AP Rocky may be the face I put on this post, he’s not the only Black celeb who falls into this category. However; let’s just start with him. Now, for those who may be unfamiliar, Rocky caught some heat a few weeks ago regarding his comments about Black Lives Matter. Apparently, in a 2015 interview with Time Out New York, Rocky essentially rebelled against the idea of speaking out against racial injustice. In his mind, he can’t relate to what’s happening to Black people in America because he’s living in Beverly Hills and would rather talk about fashion and the women he’s fucking. Now, at this point, I’m sure there are plenty of dissertations about why these comments are patently absurd, but the problem is, Rocky isn’t the only Black celebrity who feels this way.

When Travi$ Scott was promoting his Rodeo album last year, he did an interview with Clique, a French publication. After the interviewer asked him about the Ferguson protests, Scott simply responded “I don’t really get too involved in the whole political shit.” Now, that statement irked the shit out of me, man. There’s absolutely nothing political about the frequent shootings of individuals who look like HIM. The incredibly sad part about a statement like this is the fact Black public figures seem to think their exempt from unjust treatment. In addition, there also seems to be some misguided belief that since they’re not subjected to the same harsh realities as other minorities, this treatment must not be real. The lack of empathy is completely astounding in their retorts.

I also remember when Bossip interviewed Young Thug on the red carpet of the BET Awards. He was also asked about Mike Brown and the atmosphere in Ferguson, and all that man could talk about was the money he was getting. Honestly, the fact these artists have the ear of our children should be frightening, son. If their ambivalence is passed down to our future generations, we as a community could have a MAJOR problem on our hands.

To be fair, I’m not the first individual to point this trend out. During this year’s BET Awards, Jesse Williams mentioned this same issue in his incredible acceptance speech. While he made a variety of outstanding points, he did specifically mention that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be distracted by “getting money.” Just because a few individuals are able to occupy a different social category, that doesn’t mean the same treatment has trickled down to the entire race. We can’t lose sight of the fact there are still rampant injustices happening around this country. In addition, we can’t underestimate the strength of public figures speaking out. Frankly, a lot of them have a large enough platform to reach people the everyday crowd can’t. However; there’s an uncomfortable trend of said individuals abandoning the people when they have the chance.

Ultimately, it hurts me to write this type of shit. It hurts me to see our own people distance themselves from us since they no longer share the same daily experiences. No, we don’t need Rocky to be the next Al Sharpton, but it would be helpful for someone in his position to stand with us in solidarity. Side bar, I’m definitely not the biggest Sharpton fan, but I’ll save that for another day. In any case, I guess being on the cover of fashion magazines is more important to Rocky. All I can do is shake my head in disgust, son. Good day.

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