Many Black celebrities in the past two weeks have made political statements that have sent a shockwave of second-hand embarrassment into the Black community. From Chance the Rapper endorsing Kanye West for president to Nick Cannon making anti-semitic statements to drive home his point on Black liberation, it has been an overwhelming time for those who typically admire the voices of Black celebrities.
But the last two weeks have proven what some already know to be true: platforms of influence don’t instinctually merit sound judgment.
In 1963, the political leader Malcolm X had an interview at the University of California, Berkeley where he spoke on Black celebrities not being the voice of political movements. The rhetoric in the interview can most certainly be applied today — 57 years later.
“Show me in the white community where a singer is a white leader or a dancer or a trumpet player is a white leader,” Malcolm X . “These aren’t leaders.”
Malcolm X added that Black celebrities are often puppets for an agenda contradictory to the emancipation of Black people.
In early June, actor Terry Crews issued inflammatory tweets about being careful in how we work to defeat white supremacy. His use of the phrase “Black supremacy” set off a social media war as many voiced their disapproval of his slippery slope. But it doesn’t stop there.
Just two weeks ago Crews “We must ensure that #blacklivesmatter doesn’t morph into #blacklivesbetter.”again saying,
The tweet appeared to be random as most people in the Black community would agree that the statement “Black lives matter” is about equality, not superiority. It’s celebrities like Crews who emphasize Malcolm X’s talking point on Black celebrities speaking from a place of subservience to white supremacy because of their adjacency to “whiteness” as affluent individuals.
Many wonder how Crews can view justice the way he does or how Chance the Rapper can be supportive of Kanye West, who has zero experience serving in a political office, running for president.
The Chicago-native rapper tweeted on Monday about his faith in West as a potential president.
“Yall trust Biden more than yall trust Ye,” Chance the Rapper . “I think I understand why, I just don’t feel the same way.”
It was only after Crews replied to his tweets about being attacked for his beliefs that he rejected the endorsement from Crews and realized how his beliefs may be dangerous to the audience he was speaking to.
Could it be that Black celebrities choose their class over their race? Or could it be that celebrities are puppets like Malcolm X suggests, and their public opinions don’t truly reflect their beliefs?
Despite the reason, the idol worship of celebrity opinion seems to be slowly but surely coming to an end. In the past few months, celebrities of all races have made statements about the state of our world that seem to be out of touch from reality and instead from a place of ignorance. It seems now more than ever, everyday people are fed up with celebrities shouting their inimical opinions on their large platforms.
On matters of justice, I’ll continue to allow my faith to be my hero. I’ll continue to draw inspiration from revolutionaries like Coretta Scott King and Sojourner Truth, but I will never place them and their opinion on a pedestal as if they are all-knowing.