Self-proclaimed “best rapper” alive Dwayne Carter, better known as Lil’ Wayne, was to be sentenced last week for an attempted-gun-possession charge from 2007. Sentencing was delayed until March 2, due to what his attorney described as a “medical situation” in a statement issued last Tuesday.
The ordeal turned out to be a major dental surgery to remove Carter’s diamond-encrusted teeth, which he had made a permanent fixture in his mouth. On March 30, the rapper is also to appear in an Arizona court to be sentenced for drug and weapon charges.
A rant on how leniency is given to offenders with money seems fitting for Carter’s situation. However, an examination of the example he sets for his younger fans is just as timely.
Carter has been a hot commodity in the music industry over the last decade. He is noted for his fluid lyrics, eclectic beats and broad talent.
Many youngsters and even some adults hold Carter in high regard. But with Carter behind bars, is another potential role model lost?
The way Carter carries himself may not be reminiscent of a Frederick Douglass, Marcus Garvey and Alain Locke. We are talking about a guy who claimed the marijuana stench in his 2.8 million condo was a “selling point,” for potential buyers in an interview with famed British disc jockey Tim Westwood. Whether he likes it or not, Carter is a role model to a generation of youth and more importantly, to youth who look like him.
“I am gangster Miss Katie,” said Carter. “I don’t take nothin’ from no one. I do what I wanna do. And I’m gonna do that until the day I die. And if I can’t do that, then I’ll just die,” as he told CBS Evening News’ Katie Couric in a recent interview.
Certainly this is not the message Carter wants to send to those individuals who look up to him the most. Especially when those individuals are six times more likely to go to jail than their ethnic counterparts.
This is not to say that Carter should aim for perfection. Celebrities who try to keep a clean image with the public only to try and “save face” when they do not live up to the image, can be a disaster. Tiger Woods is a shining example.
Carter is an extremely talented black man who should set an example for his contemporaries to follow.